General Purpose Hand (Deckhand) Course

MAR10318 Certificate I In Maritime Operations (General Purpose Hand Near Coastal)

When will the new units come into effect? The new training package for the General Purpose Hand (Deckhand) Course will be implemented within the next 12 months at all Registered Training Organisations.

I already have my deckhand ticket from NSW Maritime, do I need to do anything? No, your ticket is still recognised by NSW Maritime. I completed the deckhand course but haven’t had my ticket issued by NSW Maritime yet.

What should I do? As long as you present your certificate and application form before 30 June 2014, you do not need to do anything further.

Students must be 16 years old or more to participate in this course.

Deckhand Course is the first step towards your career in the maritime industry.

The course focuses on developing the practical skills and knowledge required to work as a General Purpose Hand on board a vessel. Students of this deckhand course will learn to assist with deck operations on vessels up to 80m in Near Coastal waters.

This course is delivered in a blended format. ie partly completed at home in your own time using an online training package and partly completed on our training vessels.

Once you have completed the online enrolment and paid the prescribed fee you will be able to register with a username and password that will provide the gateway to your online learning resources. These resources are available to you even after course completion for an unlimited time for your future reference.

The online training package has assignments and assessments where resources are provided. There may be some extra research required by you for which you can conduct using the Australian Boating Manual which is also provided to you free of charge upon enrolment.

Note: AMPA (AMSA Mandated Practical Assessment) is not required for this course

Students will receive:

A dedicated trainer
All the learning resources necessary to complete the course
Sea Survival Practical 
Firefighting Practical 
Copy of the Australian Boating Manual 5th Edition 2015
Administration finalisation

The total amount of practical days will be 2 plus 1 day finalisation and will be scheduled accordingly.
This course covers the following units of competency:

MARB001 Assist with routine maintenance of a vessel
MARF027 Apply basic survival skills in the event of vessel abandonment
MARF028 Follow procedures to minimise and fight fires onboard a vessel
MARF029 Meet work health and safety requirements
MARF030 Survive at sea using survival craft
MARG001 Work effectively as part of a crew on a vessel up to 80 metres
MARN001 Apply general purpose hand skills aboard a vessel
MARO001 Perform basic lookout duties

Deckhand Course Cost



Admin Fee


Course Booking 

Please enquire by emailing at:

OR calling 02 97363655

Payment Options

Payments accepted are: credit card VISA or Mastercard,  cash or by electronic funds transfer to:

Maritime Training School

BSB: 012 445

Acc: 305110809

Ref: Invoice Number and your name

Payment plans are available via Studypay. Please ask one of friendly staff if you would like this option.

There are Foundation Skills and Employment Skills that are essential to meet the Performance Criteria of all units.

Therefore it is required that the participants taking this unit would have numeracy and literacy skills of a year 10 student in the Australian school or equivalent.

To enrol in this course you should also have basic computer skills including skills to undertake online research. This means students should have access to a computer with internet connection.

There are no sea time requirements for this course.


Indulge in the Joys of Sailing in Sydney Harbour

Sparkling waters, splendid weather, iconic architectural marvels, and a host of activities to indulge in – the Sydney Harbour is ideal for a sailing expedition.  Taking out your sailboat to explore the beauties of the largest natural harbour is sure to be a rewarding experience.

But before you set out, consider what kind of a sailing voyage you wish to go on. With famed landmarks, virgin beaches, secret coves, and interesting islands, the Sydney Harbour presents endless choices, sure to suit every taste and whim.

Let’s take a look at a few of the best ways to enjoy sailing on these lovely waters.

Explore the waters bearboat

Chartering a boat with an experienced crew is good, but doing it all on your own can be great. When you wish to experience the beauteous nature on your own or seek some solitude, take out your sailboat on the waves, and go alone.

You can do whatever you please when you go on a bareboat adventure. Sail around the well-loved landmarks, visit the historic Cockatoo Island, or go ahead and discover some hidden bay, the world is your oyster when you are on your own.

But keep in mind, safety is a concern if you are alone on the waters. Make sure your sailboat is in perfect shape, check the safety gear on board, and let your family and friends know where you are, and when you will be back.


Experience the adored attractions

Chartering a boat with an experienced crew is good, but doing it all on your own can be great. When you wish to experience the beauteous nature on your own or seek some solitude, take out your sailboat on the waves, and go alone.

You can do whatever you please when you go on a bareboat adventure. Sail around the well-loved landmarks, visit the historic Cockatoo Island, or go ahead and discover some hidden bay, the world is your oyster when you are on your own.

But keep in mind, safety is a concern if you are alone on the waters. Make sure your sailboat is in perfect shape, check the safety gear on board, and let your family and friends know where you are, and when you will be back.

Have fun with your family

Today’s hectic schedule often results in the loss of quality time with family. Why not plan a family outing on a sailboat? Plan activities that your kids will love, and you can have a great holiday.

Sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, take them to the Taronga Zoo, visit the Fort Denison’s museum – the kids, and the adults too, will love exploring the interesting points sprinkled around the Sydney Harbour.

On board, involve your kids in the sailing expedition. Let the little ones handle jobs such as cleaning the deck with a ‘real’ mop while the young adults can help you with the sails, knots, and so on. Let them be a part of the adventure and have the time of their lives.


Go on a romentic rendezvous

Sailing into a dazzling sunset with your beloved by your side can be the ultimate romantic getaway. And the Sydney Harbour with its panoramic views presents just the right setting for such a journey.

You can also find a secluded bay where you two can enjoy a picnic on the sand, swim and snorkel, and then watch the sunset together. Hop on board your boat to get back home. Or, you can stay the night in the boat’s cabin.

Another great choice is to go camping in Cockatoo Island. Choose a luxury house or apartment for an overnight stay. You can also decide to camp out on the open just beside the harbour and wake up to a spectacular view.

View a regatta up close

Be it the famous Sydney Hobart Yacht Race or the Sydney Harbour Regatta, you can always catch the action best from the waters. If you are good at handling a sailboat, you can take your watercraft on your own and enjoy the races.

Numerous yacht clubs also offer races for the enthusiasts. Here you can participate in a group and try your hand at racing a yacht. The thrill of adventure, the spray of salt water, and the charming sea breeze add to the experience.

Whether you are watching a race or participating in it, you need to be aware of what you should and shouldn’t do. Do not, in any way, jeopardize your safety as well as that of others. Remember sailing is fun, as long as you stay safe.


Watch the wonderfull whales

Setting sail with no engines running gives you the best opportunity to meet the friendly marine creatures such as humpbacks, Minke whales, Southern Right whales, dolphins and fur seals.

If you are lucky, you can also catch a glimpse of the fairy penguins. But keep in mind that whale watching needs patience. Moreover, you cannot reach out to them, as it may disturb the creatures. You need to let them come close to you.

Interestingly, these creatures, especially the dolphins, are intrigued by boats, and often come close to observe humans, just as you wish to go to meet them. Just make sure you don’t disturb them in any way, and enjoy the encounter.

Catch the fantastic festivities

Watch a fabulous fairytale come to life during the Vivid Sydney festival in winter. Illuminated icons on the Sydney Harbour create an incredible display that marks the magical celebration.

You can also choose to set sail on New Year’s Eve to catch the sight of an amazing fireworks display at midnight. Spend the day cruising around the attractions on the harbour, and get a good spot to view the fireworks during the evening to make it a memorable journey.

But remember that the crowd is heavy at both the times, so it is best to be on your guard while you sail. Stay cautious and stay away from your drinks. Safety is of prime importance if you are planning to enjoy the Sydney Harbour’s attractions and activities for a long time.


Boating at Night – The Importance of Learning the Basics

Caught up in the beauty of the sunset and got late? Or enjoying an evening cruise? Whatever reason makes it necessary, at times you cannot avoid boating in the night. Whether you had planned for it or not, you need to exercise caution when you are out on the waters on your boat after dark.

For every recreational boater, night safety basics are essential elements of the knowledge you need to have a great trip. Consider the dos and don’ts before you venture out to make sure it is a safe boat ride for you, your co-passengers, and all others around your vessel.

Maintain A Slow And Steady Pace

The speed of the boat must be as much as allows you to stop and avoid a collision with any object. Just as you drive your car at a slow speed when darkness envelops the road, you must drive your boat at a slow pace when the natural light is not available to guide you.

The speed of the boat depends on the circumstances and conditions as well. On a clear full moon night, you can maintain a certain speed. But it would not be the ideal speed when there is no moon or fog or mist affects visibility. Consider the visibility factor before you determine the speed of the boat. If unsure, slow down.

Know The Waterway You’re Travelling In

Sailing into unchartered territories at night is a risk that recreational boaters must avoid. It is best to travel the waterways that you plan to go to night at least once during the day. This helps you ascertain whether there are any obstacles that you need to look out for while you venture out to the same place at night.

Make sure you have the detailed map and compass even when you are carrying the latest gadgets that tell you all about the area. Also, make sure you tell someone about your plans or inform the authorities, so that at least people are aware of where you plan to go to on your boat trip and how long it would last

Understand The Lights

You simply cannot undermine the utility of artificial lights when natural light isn’t available. Before you understand the appropriate placement of lights on your boat, consider one thing – your vessel, unlike your car, doesn’t have headlights. This is because the effect of the mist and waves on such lights would impair vision, not support it.

Whether you are on a motor boat or a sailboat, whether you are rowing or paddling, whether you are on your own or have others onboard, you need to make sure that you are visible to others. For this purpose, the appropriate use of bright lights is essential, be it in the night or when visibility is low due to weather conditions.

Here is a quick checklist of the lights that need to be used on your boat.

  •  White light – all round light that shows uninterrupted light for 360 degrees.
  • Masthead white light – positioned over the fore and aft centreline of your boat, this lights shows a continuous light for 225 degrees.
  • Sidelights – a green starboard light and a red port side light; placed to show a steady light for 112.5 degrees.
  • White light on the stern – positioned near the stern, this shows an uninterrupted light for 135 degrees.

Another thing you need to understand is that too much light inside the cabin can affect your night time vision in an adverse manner. Your eyes need time to accustom to the dim light of the night. If they come across the glare of bright lights on the boat, they would take at least half an hour to regain their night vision.

It is best to opt for dimmers to control the light inside the cabin. You need to incorporate navigation systems and controls with dimmers that don’t hamper your vision with their sudden glare. Using mounted or portable spotlights may be necessary at times, but remember, they have a blinding effect on you and others; use them wisely and sparingly.

Utilise The Right Technology

Detailed electronic cartography helps you to find out whether there are any obstacles on the waterway. Chart plotter is especially important as floating logs, moored boats, or dark shoals are often unlit and unmarked. If your boat collides with them, it may hamper you and your co-passenger’s safety.

Consider the use of radar when you are out on the open waters at night. While chart plotters can make you aware of the permanent objects afloat, radar technology can help you discover almost any object on the water’s surface. This would help you avert any trouble especially if you are in any area that has other watercrafts moving around.


Be Vigilant To What’s Around You

Whether you rely on the tried and tested map and compass or the latest global positioning gadgets for your night boat trip, you cannot ignore the significance of the best navigation tools that you have – your eyes and ears. Keep a close lookout and listen to everything around you. This would help you avert trouble.

It is a good idea to keep at least two people for lookout. This makes it possible to maintain a strict watch at all times. This is also helpful when you have to consult the maps and charts and take off your eyes from the horizon, even if for an instant. Paying attention to all that goes on around the boat is the best way to keep safe on a night-time boat trip.

Remember, your awareness is what differentiates between a responsible and an irresponsible recreational boater. Never get alcohol or drugs in the mix if you plan to go on a boat ride, anytime of the day or night.

Whether you are out on the open waters by chance or by choice, whether you are on the move or at anchor, whether you are on a solo fishing trip or a family adventure cruise, you need to use care and caution while you are on your boat at night. With the cooperation of your co-passengers, it sure would be a great experience for you all.


Saltwater Fishing: An Amazing Adventure Awaits

Love fishing? Whether you prefer to do it in the calm, shallow salt waters or the wide, open seas, saltwater fishing can be an engaging experience. But before you head out to the waters on your boat, you need to plan it a little.

You need to select the location, find the right boat and equipment and practice the techniques. But before you head out, make sure you have your boat licence; otherwise, you’ll be in for a lot of trouble.

Let’s try to focus on the points you need to keep in mind to enjoy your saltwater fishing trip.

Where to fish?

Before you head out, research about the area you wish to fish. Reefs, holes, pockets, channels and such other spots are good choices. Don’t rely solely on a map that shows the best locations for saltwater fishing!

  • Time – find out which times in the day are ideal for finding fish
  • Sun and moon phases – these affect the spots where fish can be found
  • Tides – ebb tides are ideal for saltwater fishing; aim for the time the tides is from half rising to half falling
  • Wind and weather – these affect the migration patterns of the fish

After you have done your research, you’ll have a good idea about the best destination for your saltwater fishing trip. These details will also help you decide on which fish to aim for – the dainty trout, the popular bass or the monstrous marlin.

Which boat to choose?

Well, this depends on the exact purpose you want it to serve. If you are an enthusiast of sport fishing, a boat specifically designed for the intention will be ideal. But it won’t do if you want to enjoy other activities too.

Inboard cruisers are best if you want to have a happy holiday out on the open waters with your family and friends and want to indulgent in some fishing too. Again, if your idea of fun is participating in all kinds of water activities, you need to opt for a fish and ski boat.

What equipment do you need?

Whether you are fishing in the quiet coastal waters or the tumultuous deep seas, the success, and the fun, you have is dependent on your choice of fishing gear and tackle. Rods, reels, nets, pliers, every piece needs to be selected carefully.

Keep in mind that the saltwater has an adverse effect on your gear. And the saltwater fish can be brutal too. It’s best to opt for best quality, non-corrosive pieces made from UV resistant materials. And do ensure proper storage and maintenance of the equipment.

Also, get the right clothing for the trip. If you are fishing out in the open, dab on sunscreen to avoid skin trouble. Check the electronics onboard to make sure you the VHF radio, radar and GPS are working. It may save you if there’s an emergency.

How to prepare for the trip?

For beginners, it’s best to keep to the coastal waters. Take someone who knows about saltwater fishing. Chalk out your itinerary. And have a little patience. Moving from one spot to another isn’t always the best way to get some fish.

Remember, practice makes perfect. So, whether you are planning to catch the fish and keep it, or catch and release, you need to practice hard. Only after months of practice will you become a good angler. Don’t expect overnight perfection; it’s not magic!

Why is safety to importent

Next is the question of safety. While you will learn the basics of safety from your initial boat licence course, it will be even better if you can take a specialised course to learn about marine radios. You need to keep other things in mind too:

  • Let someone know about your itinerary
  • Keep safety equipment handy
  • Drive your boat carefully
  • Don’t indulge in alcohol while you are out in the waters
  • Use common sense

With a little planning, your trip to catch saltwater fish on your boat can be a pleasurable experience. Be it with your family and friends or with a group of anglers, an amazing adventure awaits. So, what are you waiting for? Plan it now!


Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race: Celebrate Australia’s Maritime Heritage

Boxing Day marks the start of one of the much awaited events of the yachting world – the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. A classic ocean race, it belongs to the elite three, the other two being the Fastnet Race in the UK and the Bermuda Race in the USA.

With the commencement of the race, the eastern coastline of Australia grabs all attention in the holidays. Racing yachts across the blue waters is every adventurer’s dream. And many yachtsmen have participated for years; though the record for the most races is held by Tony Cable of NSW who entered this race 49 times!

From an impromptu beginning, the race has come a long way. Now, it has an official sponsor, Rolex, and is a widely popular and well-loved event among yachters. But the spirit of adventure still lies at the core of the race.

A Glimpse of the Glorious Past

Leisure activities were barred during World War II; cruising and casual racing were within this suspension order too. But the spirit was alive; the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia was created by the active participation of the sailors on Sydney Harbour. Later, Bert Walker, Jack Earl, and Peter Luke – three members of the club planned a cruise to Hobart in 1945.

Afterwards, Peter Luke suggested that Captain John Illingworth RN may also join them on the cruise that was to begin after Christmas. He agreed, but on the condition that they make it a race instead of a cruise. Thus the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race was born.

Illingworth was not only a competitor in the race; he was also at the head of the plans and arrangements. His experience of ocean racing in England and the USA made him an expert at how to measure the boat, identify probable and possible, handicap the event, and other aspects. He, therefore, helped the club create an event out of just a cruise.

On Boxing Day, 1945, nine yachts set sail for Hobart in the first race. Illingworth also set sail onboard Rani, a Barber 35′ cutter he bought for the purpose. He had prepared the yacht and its crew well, and they were at their competitive best.

Illingworth had a serious approach to the race, but the other sailors were more casual. Once they hit the waters though, they came face to face with a strong southerly gale. One yacht retired, some heaved on the rough seas, and many others sought shelter. But Rani moved on, under the able leadership of her captain.

When the weather cleared, RAAF planes were sent up to locate the fleet. Rani was so far ahead, that they missed her, and thought that disaster had struck. It became sensational news when Rani reappeared off Tasman Islands. She was the winner of the first race.

The Thrilling Time

Success of the first Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and the media interest it generated implied a long and secure future for it. By 1946, it was declared to be an annual event to be held every Boxing Day. The rules and regulations were also tightened, based on the guidelines of the Royal Ocean Racing Club of Britain, to ensure fair competition.

Racing on the open blue waters, with no control over the winds and waves, and any signposts, lines, or markings to show the track, winning solely depends on the skills, experience and luck of the yachtsmen and the capability of their vessel.

Records offer a good idea about how the conditions can affect the race. In 1975, Kialoa III, a maxi yacht from the USA, shot to fame under the guidance of its owner and Captain Jim Kilroy who completed the race well within 3 days. It held its position for 21 years, until Morning Glory snatched it away by an improvement of mere 30 minutes in 1996.

Today, the record for the fastest race is held by Wild Oats XI, an Australian yacht that covered the distance in 1 day, 18 hours, and 23 minutes in 2012. It was the winner of the 2005 race, and the 2014 Line Honours winner, as well.

On the other hand, the slowest race is attributed to Wayfarer, which took 11 days, 6 hours, and 20 minutes for the task in the first race of 1945. A nail-biting finish was recorded in 1982, when Condor, a yacht from Bermuda, beat Apollo by 7 seconds! Again, in 2001, the first 6 yachts of the race came to harbour within a span of just 47 minutes.

A Hint of Febulous Future

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race has come a long way; from the time when the sailors had to depend on their knowledge of the sun, moon, and stars to navigate the open waters, to the GPS-enabled system that guide them today.

From the disaster that stuck in 1998, when opposing winds and currents created a perilous sea for the yachts, the spirit of the race emerged as the winner, when the heroic efforts of the civilian and the service rescue helicopter crews saved the sailors, and prevented tragedy. It led to the revision of the equipment and experience necessary for the race.

Yachtsmen have participated in the race, some once, and some again and again, but the thirst for adventure is never to be satiated. And it is this craving that draws the competitors to the challenging conditions of the race year after year.

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is a celebration of Australia’s maritime heritage, and exemplary of the love people have for the open blue seas. Marked by revelry at the start and finish points, the race is a unique experience, where people from every strata of life join in and enjoy the thrill of the competition.

Plans for the 2015 gala are afoot. The entries for the yachts to participate are open. All of Australia, and the entire yachting world, are gearing up for the famous open ocean racing event of the year. Are you going to be there too?


Island Hopping on Sydney Harbour

Be it the intriguing history of Fort Denison or the charming camping at Cockatoo Island, every isle in the beautiful Sydney Harbour has an interesting facet for you to discover. While the mainland is abuzz with activity, the islands off the coast are serene patches of paradise that you can explore on your own or with your family and friends.

Originally, the number of islands on Sydney Harbour was 14, of which 5 (Bennelong, Berry, Darling, Garden and Glebe) are now part of the mainland. Two islands, formerly divided by a slight stretch of shallow waters, have united to form the Spectacle Island, which acts as a naval base and isn’t accessible to the public.

Now the number of islands stands at 7 – Cockatoo, Fort Denison, Clark, Shark, Rodd, Goat, and Snapper, of which the last is closed to the public for now. Take your own boat or catch a ferry to the small nuggets of history, culture, and adventure and explore what the Sydney Harbour has to offer, be it on a single day trip or a little longer voyage.

Before you go, here is a lowdown on what to see and do on each of these islands.

Cockatoo Island: At the point where the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers meet, sits the largest of the islands – Cockatoo. A designated UNESCO World Heritage site, the island was called Wareamah by the aboriginal people. Since 1839, the island was used as a prison; later, it was also used as a girls’ reformatory school and a boys’ naval training school.

Remnants of convict-built granary silos, stone barracks, and the dry dock still stand; shipbuilding workshops of later years complete with rusty machinery adds an industrial flair to the isle. Camping grounds provide the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay under the stars. If you are looking for a luxurious stay, try glamping.

Fort Denison: Originally called the Mat-te-wan-ye, this steep rocky isle was a favourite fishing spot in the early days. After the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, its name gradually changed to ‘Pinchgut’, primarily due to the poor rations of bread and water provided to the convicts destined to labour here.

Later in 1857, fortifications were completed with the building of the honey-coloured Martello Tower, a one-of-a-kind sandstone structure in Australia. Renamed after Governor Sir William Denison in 1862, the island is now well-loved for its winding staircase that takes you to the cannon, fired everyday at 1 p.m., it’s interesting museum, and it’s amazing views.

Clark Island: Just off the tip of Darling Bay is this little isle (with an area of only 0.9 hectare), named after Lieutenant Ralph Clark, of the First Fleet. He wanted to cultivate it as a veggie garden, but the fruits of his toils were often reaped off by the convicts in the area. The idea didn’t stick, but the name did!

Pack a picnic and head to the small and beautiful Clark Island for fun-filled family time. You can also hire the entire isle for a special occasion, such as a wedding. But remember, ferries aren’t available; so, you need to take your own boat or may be a water taxi. You also need to book in advance to hold a function.

Goat Island: Formerly called Me-mel by the local Cadigal people, this isle was another popular fishing spot between Balmain and McMahons Point. Interestingly, it is thought that three goats were left behind on the island to breed, hence the name. In the 1800s, it became a sandstone quarry where convicts laboured in atrocious conditions.

Stories of convicts abound; it was the isle where Charles Anderson, the tattooed seaman, was chained to a rock from which he carved out a seat. You can opt for a historical tour of the island, which was later used as a water police station, ammunitions artillery, as well as a laboratory. Now, it is home to the relics of the macabre past.

Shark Island: Off the suburb of Point Piper sits a pretty little island just right for a family picnic. Shaped like a shark, this small isle has been in use since the 1800s as an area for quarantine and a storage depot for the naval base. It was opened to the public as an excursion spot only in the 1970s.

The palm-fringed isle has a beach just right for swimming. You can also opt to relax in the sun. Make sure you don’t forget to pack in a basket of goodies for your picnic. Shark Island is also a favoured wedding destination, for which you may need to book the entire place and that too in advance.

Rodd Island: Located off Birkenhead Point, in the secluded waters of the Iron Cove, this little island was the first public recreational area in Sydney. Named after a solicitor, Brent Clements Rodd, who tried to buy it but couldn’t succeed; this isle was later used as a scientific research facility, a factory, and even an army training base.

With its remains of historic buildings, especially a dance hall, Rodd Island attracts a fair share of travellers on the lookout for an adventure off Sydney Harbour. Opt for a family picnic or book the entire place for an exclusive event. The spectacular views of the harbour from this farthest point are sure to make it a memorable time.

Each of the islands on the Sydney Harbour is a piece of paradise, waiting to be explored.

If you are planning to take your boat to these isles, make sure you are aware of the rules and regulations you need to abide by. Create a travel plan so that you can enjoy the sights and sounds on the island hopping adventure without a hitch. Also, make sure you book the place with the NSW National Parks.

A great idea is to book a place for the fabulous New Year’s Eve fireworks display at any of the islands – Cockatoo, Goat, Shark, or Clark. Access to the front-row seats to the event of the year is sure to impress you. Just don’t forget to book in advance, as the number of seats available is quite limited.


Boating Adventures: Have Some Fun While Out on the Waters

Getting out on your boat can be fun. But just a boat ride may not be enough to interest an avid adventurer. For those attracted to excitement, a host of opportunities exist when you decide to take your boat out on the waters.

Waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing – water sports enthusiasts are sure to love the choices. Before you take your watercraft out on the waves to enjoy any of these activities, it’s essential to have a clear idea about a few things.

Here are a few points that can ensure enjoyment out on the waters.

Opportunities Galore

Initially, the idea of water sports was confined to waterskiing. Nothing was as exhilarating as speeding through the waters on your skis, without a care in the world. The adventurers added their unique touch by jumping a ramp.

Bare-footing, i.e. waterskiing without water-skis, is also a favourite among addicts.

If you were in for some serious fun, wakeboarding is the thing for you. With the opportunity to fly behind the boat on your wakeboard, it sure can get your adrenaline pumping and your heart racing.

Not satisfied? Try a wake skate or may be a knee board to get a taste of adventure.

One activity you can enjoy, whatever your strengths and skills, is tubing. Riding in an inflatable inner tube towed by your boat can be a leisurely activity or an adventure sports, depending on your tastes and inclinations.

Make the Right Choice

A water sports enthusiast needs to select the right boat to begin with. Before you buy a boat, decide on its purpose. If you want it to enjoy these activities, it is best to opt for the vessels specifically designed for waterskiing or wakeboarding.

But if water adventures are just a part of your purpose, it is a better idea to opt for a watercraft that suits other activities too. Bowriders, deck boats, pontoon boats, cuddy cabins and jet boats are appropriate options.

A fish and ski boat can be ideal if you are in love with both these pastimes.

Another good choice is the personal watercraft (PWC). Whether you want to rush through the waves alone or want to take your partner for an awesome ride, a PWC can be your perfect pick.

Next, you need to select the right accessories for your water adventures. Along with your water skis, inflatable toys and tubes and wakeboards, you also need things such as tow ropes, ski pylon, air compressor and so on.

Don’t forget your camera; you will want to capture your adventures for sure.

Focus on Safety

Water sports give aficionados the best opportunity to enjoy their leisure. But make sure it doesn’t turn into a disaster. You can do this with attention to safety. Keep an eye on the weather forecast. Be aware of water and wave conditions.

Always wear your personal floatation device. It will ensure your safety while on board. Also, make sure the one you choose adheres to the guidelines applicable in the area where you go out for your adventures.

Get your NSW boat licence course to make sure you are aware of every safety guideline.

Also, if you ride a PWC, you need to get licensed for it separately. The courses will help you learn the precautions you need to take to ensure the safety of you, your co-passengers and your boat.

Boating is exciting, be it on your own, or with your family and friends, and once you are aware of how to prevent trouble, and remain responsible, you can create some of the best memories of your life while out on the waters.

Just make sure you have a clear idea about the things that matter while you are out on your boat. And remember to have fun; after all, that is the reason you went out and purchased the boat in the first place.


10 Boat Anchoring Tips Every Driver Needs to Know

One skill you need to learn before you start to drive your recreational boat is how to anchor it. It’s a good idea to check whether the boat licence course you take teaches this. Otherwise, you may be in quite a fix.

Two reasons may make it necessary to anchor your boat – you may want to stop to have lunch, or to swim or fish, or you may need to stop to avoid bad weather or to prevent your vessel from going into shallow waters or other vessels due to wind or current.

With a little practice, it becomes easy to drop anchor and stop your vessel whenever necessary. It isn’t as tough as it seems. And when you have a little help, you can learn to anchor your boat with ease.

Before you go out on your boat, here are a few simple but effective tips for you.

Find a sheltered place to drop anchor. The purpose of anchoring is to prevent your boat from wind and current; and also to keep it safe from other boats. If you don’t find a sheltered area, this purpose is defeated.

Make sure you have the right anchor. Three types of anchors are used for recreational vessels – plow, danforth (fluke) and mushroom. While the first two are suitable for most boats, mushroom anchors are best suited to small, lightweight crafts.

Note: It’s best to seek advice from a marine supply store to choose the appropriate type of anchor. The decision depends on the type of boat and the waters you ride out to.

Combine sturdy anchor rode. You need something to attach the anchor to the boat. And while fibre line may be cheaper, it is better to opt for a combination of galvanized chain and nylon line for this purpose, as it stands up to abrasion better.

Determine the depth of water. You need to calculate the amount of rode you have to put out to anchor safely. And this calculation needs you to know the depth of the water. So, lower line to check how deep the water is at the spot you want to drop anchor.

Identify the type of bed. The anchor type must match the water bottom. Anchors hold well in sand and mud waterbeds. For rock and coral beds, plow anchors work best. The worst types of beds to anchor are clay, shale or grass bottoms.

Lower anchor; don’t throw it. Making a splash may look pretty but it isn’t a good idea. Throwing it may seem easy, but it may entangle the anchor rode. And it can be difficult if this happens. Instead, slowly lower it to reach the waterbed.

Learn when to stop the boat’s engine. Once you have reached the spot you want to anchor, it is best to stop your engine. You can also put it into neutral. Only after you have done this, lower the anchor.

Note: Never anchor by the boat’s stern alone. It can cause the vessel to swamp, capsize and sink.

Know how to tell a dragging anchor. After you have dropped anchor, you need to put the boat in idle reverse until it fixes firmly. When doing this, place a hand on the line. If it’s set, it will feel firm. If it isn’t, it will shake as the boat bumps and drags along.

Check reference points with relation to the vessel. Look around to understand the exact location of your vessel with relation to fixed points such as houses, towers, rocks, lighthouses and so on. Check after a few hours to make sure your craft isn’t drifting.

Remember, an anchor may be your only chance to stop your boat, so store it at an easily accessible spot. Sometimes, you need to drop anchor at a moment’s notice. This will only be possible if you can find it within a second.

With a little practice, it will be easy to follow these points and do it in a proper manner.

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that it may be necessary to clean the anchor before you take it in. It is also important that you dry the anchor rode before you store it. These little things will ensure that these are in good condition.

A good boat licence course will be able to teach you all these and more.


How to Choose the Right Anchor for your Recreational Boat

Have you just bought your first boat? Well, you need to purchase a few accessories for it too. And one item you simply cannot forget to buy is your boat’s anchor. It’s what you will need to stop your boat and keep it at a particular spot.

But it’s difficult to find the right anchor for your watercraft if you have no idea about how to make the choice. And the variety available at the boat accessories’ store is sure to add to the confusion. Don’t fret; you just need to consider the right factors.

What do you consider to make the decision? Let’s try to find an answer.

Consider the size. Is the heaviest anchor available the best choice? Not always. Instead, focus on the actual size of it. The bigger it is, the better it will be at resisting breaking. It will also be better at penetrating deeper and occupying more surface area.

Which size fits your boat? The simple rule of thumb is to opt for the biggest one available for your boat size. Yes, even if it isn’t the heaviest. Its holding capability is largely dependent on its size, not its weight.

Consider the style. You need to think of a few things before you decide on the right style boat anchor. Will you be out on enclosed lakes or open seas? Will the bed be mud, rock, sand or something else? Will the wind be high where you plan to take your boat?

Different anchor designs work well in different conditions. However, the basic designs are:

Danforth–With its two flukes, this anchor holds well in sand bottom. It’s good if you are fishing and have to drop and haul it frequently. But it’s not quite ideal if you need an anchor for an overnight stay, as it cannot adapt well to change in wind and weather conditions.

Bruce/claw–Originally designed for big rigs, this anchor design is good to hold fast in mud bottoms. The best part is its ease of use; it lodges well and stays put even when the pull changes direction but comes loose when you give it a vertical pull.

Plough–A single plough-shaped fluke makes this anchor a good choice, whatever the bed. It lodges into the bed like a plough and holds well even among weeds. And it remains buried even if the wind or current changes direction.

Mushroom–The wide area cap on this anchor makes it hold well to mud bottoms, and weeds too. But it doesn’t offer much holding power. Therefore, it’s best to use it only for temporary anchoring and with smaller boats and dinghies.

Consider the construction. The common choice, when it comes to material for anchors, is galvanised steel. Its coat prevents rust. Or, you can also opt for stainless steel anchors. They are sturdier than the galvanised steel variants.

When you go out to buy an anchor for your first boat, look for tell-tale signs of poor construction. If the joints are properly welded or the galvanisation isn’t done correctly, it won’t last for long.

Consider the cost. It’s quite simple; you get what you pay for. It’s a good idea to compare prices from different stores before you buy the boat anchor. But it’s a bad idea to opt for the cheapest one available.

Visit a local marine store and talk to someone who knows about these. Remember, your safety, as well as the safety of anyone you take on your boat, depends on the anchor you choose. Don’t scrimp on this purchase.

Consider the storage. It’s true that the bigger anchor you can get for your boat, the better. But you have to keep it on your boat too. If yours is a small dinghy, a foldable one may be a better choice.

But it won’t be of use if yours is a large watercraft that you use for overnight cruises. Fortunately, such a boat will have enough space for a big anchor. Again, talk to an expert before you make a decision.

As for how to use your anchor, it will be an easy thing to learn once you enrol in the boat licence course. With theoretical learning and practical experience, you don’t just get your boat licence; you learn the boating basics too, which includes anchoring safely.


How to Choose a Boat Storage Facility

Whether you own a small dinghy or a large houseboat, you need to find an appropriate storage facility for your prized possession. And you cannot keep off the decision for the last minute. It is imperative to look for such a facility as soon as you purchase your boat.

A little inflatable can be stored in your garage or backyard. But it won’t be possible to accommodate a bigger vessel, unless you own acres of land. Again, even if you own ample land, if it is too far away from water, the transportation costs will be humongous.

How do you solve the problem? It isn’t as tough as it seems. Numerous service providers offer indoor and outdoor storage facilities for recreational vessels. The more significant question is – how do you make a choice?

Let’s take a look at how you can find the right facility to store your watercraft.

Consider the location

 Choosing a storage facility too far away from a water body can increase transportation costs. While it may be properly secured and well maintained, you also need to keep this in mind.

You don’t want to keep your boat in your garage because your home is at a good distance from the lake or the sea. A facility at an inopportune location isn’t a correct choice either because of the same reason.

Consider the category.

The next question is – whether an indoor or outdoor facility will be suitable for your boat? For this, you need to pay attention to the weather conditions as well as the way the vessels are stored at the place of your choice.

If the locale experiences inclement weather for most of the year, it is best to keep your boat in an indoor area. Again, a cramped up indoor area filled with numerous vessels may not be the ideal place as your boat may suffer damage in such a small space.

Consider the lease terms.

. Many recreational craft storage facilities have strict lease agreements that run for a year. If you aren’t going to keep it in store for years, such services won’t be suitable for you.

Check the terms and conditions of the lease agreement before you make a decision. A service that lets you store your watercraft for a shorter period, say a month, may work better for your requirements. Opt for such flexible plans.

Consider the price.

You can store your boat in your garage for free. But it isn’t always a practical, or possible, option. If it is neither, you need to look for a facility that offers competent services and fits your budget.

It is a good idea to compare costs. But it isn’t to opt for the cheapest choice. It may not always be the best. The safety and security of your vessel matters most; you have to choose a place that can guarantee this.

Consider the convenience.

How often do you take out your vessel for a drive? If you rarely take it out in a year, it is best to look for indoor storage facilities that offer affordable rates for long-term leases. Your convenience is of utmost importance.

But if you often ride your recreational watercraft out on the waters, it may be a good idea to opt for an outdoor storage place next to the water body. This will save you a lot of time and let you avoid a lot of hassles.

Consider the access.

 Do you need to drive hours to reach the boat storage facility? And when you do reach it, you face closed doors and an automated voice tells you that you need to come between this and this time?

This can be quite a bother. If you don’t have any fixed schedule about your boat ride, make sure you find a service that offers 24 hours access to owners. Otherwise, you may have to face such trouble.

Consider the security

 Why do you want a storage facility for your recreational vessel? The answer is simple; you need to make sure that your valued asset is safe, secure and in good condition even when it is not in use.

A well-guarded fenced facility is always a good choice. Also, many new-age boat storage services incorporate security features such as CCTVs, 24×7 surveillance and such others to ensure your peace of mind.

Choose carefully to choose well. The correct place will be able to keep your personal recreational watercraft safe and sound. And whenever you take your vessel for a ride, make sure you have your boat driver’s licence.