Most people think that driving a boat is really simple and it is, but the biggest problem is that you could cause an accident if you are not careful.
This article explains several tips to improve your driving and prevent accidents.
Before you start the boat check the engine to see if there are any gas or water leaks. You can start the blower to let the gas out and avoid an explosion, but it is always better to lift the boat engine cover.
Sit on the seat, not on the edge or backrest. If you can’t see, sit on a cushion.
If you are driving for the first time, or if you are driving a different boat or in a different lake, I recommend that you take a few laps before you pull a skier. Try out the acceleration controls; ask if there are places where you can’t go and if there are shallows.
Adjust the rear view mirror so that you can see the skier perfectly.
Rest your elbow firmly on the boat so that you can do a steady acceleration and go back to neutral in case you need to.
Tight the rope before you take the skier out using idle speed and neutral. Watch the skier on the rear view mirror at all times.
I recommend that one person drives the boat and another one watches the skier. This also helps to level the weight of the boat and makes the wakes uniform.
Wait for the skier to be ready before you start up. NEVER start up before the skier gives you a go, even if someone else tells you to.
While you are tensing the rope, head the boat towards a direction with no obstacles, boats or the lakeshore. Put the wheel in a straight position so that when you start up, the boat will go straight ahead and it will be easier for the skier to get out.
Once the skier is out, ask him/her if the speed is ok.
All speed changes must be gradual, try to focus on the tachometer since the speedometer tends to be inaccurate.
Keep one hand on the wheel and the other on the accelerator at all times, even when the speed is ok. This way you can react fast and avoid accidents.
It’s important to try and keep a straight course without being too close to the lakeshore or to other boats. If you’re driving in a round lake try to follow straight lines, it’s very uncomfortable for the skier since the wake deforms on one side.NEVER follow the trajectory of another boat. It is very dangerous and uncomfortable for the boat in front.
Once the skier falls into the water you must follow the next steps:
First put the gear in neutral and turn the wheel to the right. It must be in this order, first neutral and then right. What you are trying to do is let the waves open while the boat turns almost in its own axis, so that you don’t bump straight into them. It’s very important that you turn right whenever it’s possible. This way you don’t loose sight of the skier.
Once the boat has lost speed, go back to get the skier in idle speed. If you accelerate more than idle speed you’ll make a huge wave that you will probably come around to and it will possibly get in the boat. If you do this, you’ll use less gas, you won’t leave waves everywhere, the wave won’t get in the boat through the front and even if it sounds unbelievable you’ll spend less time.
When you get to the skier, always get there in idle speed (idle speed is the minimum speed in which a boat runs) and once the skier is 4 meters away from the boat, put it in neutral. Once the skier is about to get to the back of the boat turn it off so that he doesn’t breathe all the gases from the motor and to avoid accidents.
Remember that boats don’t react well going back because the propeller is after the timon and the boat will only turn to the side where the motor turns.
Watch that everybody is sitting down inside the boat.
If you drive at night don’t forget your lights and preferably have a potent flashlight at hand.
Finally, be responsible. Don’t drink and drive and always keep lifejackets on board.