We recently came across a bad situation where a new boat owner asked an “Experienced” friend to teach them boating. This turned out to be a very costly mistake. The “Experienced” friend didn’t have the skillset to recover the boat from hitting the dock. Teaching someone to operate a boat is very different to operating one, as the trainer is not in direct control, therefore many safeguards need to be put in place and an experienced trainer will always recognise when a vessel is about to be but in a situation that is outside of its operating envelope. Unfortunately amateur instructors generally only recognise when a vessel is in difficulty when the situation arises, and as they are not in direct control of the vessel, cannot respond in sufficient time to resolve the mishap.
We therefore decided to point out 10 reasons (There are many more) why it’s always best to use a professional trainer to teach competent boat operations.
- Every boat owner who has a boat over 5 years would consider themselves experienced. This unfortunately is not always true and we have seen recreational skippers conduct incredibly dubious manoeuvres that they thought were perfectly reasonable.
- Your friend has not operated all manner of vessels in all conditions and will therefore not have acquired a skill and appreciation for many things that go wrong on a boat. Many ‘experienced’ friends have gotten away with bad practice for years, purely due to luck.
- A friend will not be trained to recognise when things are going wrong aboard your vessel. Professional marine trainers are trained to recognise when things are about to go bad, and are trained to allow the student enough time to correct the mistake, but will always step in before a situation becomes irrecoverable.
- A professional trainer NEVER gets irritated or annoyed. No matter how many times things go wrong or a student struggles, we have seen it all before and have strategies for assisting all learning styles.
- Even a good boat skipper does not make a good trainer, they may be able to operate a boat competently but struggle to explain why.
- A professional marine trainer is not just teaching you what they figure is a good idea, they are teaching from a syllabus of tried and tested methods that have been formed over generations of SAR, Military and merchant vessel operations worldwide.
- Your friend may only be familiar with their own type of boat, whereas a good professional trainer will have operated every configuration of boat, drive and equipment that exists, so should be more familiar with your boat than you are yourself.
- Safety is the biggest concern, and most recreational boaties don’t have a full understanding of safe seamanship regarding rope work and crew awareness. A professional skipper will teach you how to instruct your crew to eliminate the chances of getting injured by grabbing the wrong ropes at the wrong time.
- Assumption, is a big obstacle for non professional trainers. They often assume the operator knows something that may be common sense to them, but forgetting that your experiences are vastly different to theirs. Professional trainers never assume any level of understanding and always teach with a check and verify system to confirm correct receipt of information.
- Teaching styles are moulded by years of teaching aboard boats. Non professional trainers generally struggle to impart marine specific competencies in an efficient manner which can result in confusion and mis-information.