100% Newbie

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by brobb2735, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. brobb2735

    brobb2735 New Member

    Jan 18, 2016
    Middle River, MD
    I would like to thank everybody who responded with such great advice. In the trucking community all the veteran guys like myself are always willing to help the new guys when we see them getting in to a jam, and based on all the feed back that I received from complete strangers the boating community is willing to do the same. Thanks again to everyone for there post and I welcome any and all feedback.Also Mark you are a mind reader because I was only looking at 280's these guys have got me researching the 340.:grin:
  2. Alegria

    Alegria Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Lancaster,PA Boat: -Sue Creek, MD
    2000 410 DA
    3126 CAT
    LOL!!!! The 99-00 340 is the same hull as a 97-99 330 of course the helm and interior are totally different, just saying for budget purposes!!! I do prefer the 340 helm over mine of course. I hate to bring it up but there is the water ingestion issues with the horizon motors on the 340s... Just sayin...

    I think the other thing to add is something that affected me with our 280. I found that early on I was less likely to take the boat out due to the anxiety of getting it back and docked due to lack of experience. I suffered a little on the 330. But thanks to the work with captains and also the words of wisdom from folks on the board here I overcame that in a season.

    So my thoughts no matter what you get you will have anxiety. Just need to go slow and work through it.
  3. Boater420

    Boater420 Well-Known Member

    Mar 11, 2015
    Clearwater, FL
    '97 330 Sundancer
    Westerbeke 4.5BCG
    Twin Merc 454's
    Welcome to CSR!

    I was thinking about your question for a few minutes before typing my response. I thought back about my boating history and the boat with which I started. It was a 12 ft rowboat with a 3.5 horse Johnson. I was 14 years old and had no idea how to drive a boat. The first lesson I learned was that boats have no brakes! 38 years later, I now drive a 33 footer that weighs a lot more than my little rowboat but the principals are still the same, boats don't have brakes.

    Without the ability to stop fast, everything you do in a boat has to be thought about well in advance. When approaching ANYTHING on the water whether another boat, dock, or island you'll need to think about stopping well before you get there. If you're boat is moving slow enough anything that goes wrong can usually be corrected by yourself, the people tending fenders, or the hands on the dock.

    Another consideration is the ability to manage it by yourself. I went from a 22 foot cuddy cabin to a my current boat. I was able to manage my old boat by myself without any help, the new boat I cannot. I'm not sure if a 28 footer is a boat that can be managed by one person. Maybe someone else will help with that question. If you're considering a larger boat this might be something to think about.

    Since you're already skilled in towing that shouldn't be a concern.

    Take the classes, watch others, and learn from your mistakes. You should be fine on the water with your skill set once you learn the basics.

    Good Luck.
  4. trflgrl

    trflgrl Active Member

    Jun 23, 2014
    Middle Tennessee
    1989 Sundancer 300
    Twin 350 Merc/Alpha 1 Gen 1; Quicksilver 4.0 gen
    You probably can tell I'm still giddy--getting a cruiser is the best impractical thing I've ever done! I hope you get the same joy as so many of us on this forum do.

    And even after you take a class and get some hands-on training, find a boating buddy or two of your own who are level headed, with or without experience, so it's more likely you WILL take it out at every opportunity and learn, learn, learn. Two of my best girls are exactly that--cool as cucumbers even when something isn't familiar, willing to take direction (including not touching a thing if I ask them to just be spotters), but good at thinking on their feet. First Mate and I tend to live on the boat spring through fall, but anytime he has another obligation, I try to go out and take at least one of them with me--every trip is more experience. On a couple of occasions, I've launched on my own, but with a rendezvous/deck hand pickup planned for returning to the slip. Even though I'm on a relatively small body of water and I pay close attention to the weather, there's just plain safety in numbers; it will be a while before I choose to do everything solo, though some others in our crew frequently do, also with 25'+ boats....including First Mate's dad and uncle, who pilot 38' Carver Santegos. They had prior experience with mid-sized cruisers, but backed off a bit on solo activities 'til they acclimated to the bigger boats and bridge style.

    Funny you mention that about no brakes....it was the first thing the PWC salesman told me, too, and reiterated many times before I took home my first water toy.

    As to whether one person can handle a larger boat, yes, if that person is comfortable, confident, and well-prepared--like you say, the more you think through scenarios before taking action, the better equipped you are to manage once under way. Some in our crew pilot 28' and larger boats solo--by being ok with things like placing fenders in advance, having dock lines already attached to key cleats with free ends easily accessed from the helm, etc. If they join others to raft, they slide onto the end and throw a line if needed, or enter a split in the line--either way, their gear is at their fingertips so they don't have to leave the helm if at all possible. Same thing docking where there are deck hands. Slipping may be solo depending on how busy the marina is (all of us are at two-finger docks and slip stern first).

    (My bail out option if I have to slip alone before I've mastered the usual method? Bow first, no questions asked. A bit unconventional at this size boat, but the point is to dock safely, and if that's what it takes, I know I can do it cleanly and rearrange later! But I feel comfortable making that decision any time because it's already a clear plan in my head.)
  5. skolbe

    skolbe Active Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    320 Sundancer, Mercury 310 Sport Inflatable Tohatsu 6HP
    350 Mag V-Drive - Kohler 5ecd
    The key to maneuvering a boat is learning how it reacts, stay calm and I personally like guest to just sit and relax and not try to "help". With some guidance for an afternoon you will be fine, since you drive a tractor trailer.
  6. NaughtyDog

    NaughtyDog Member

    Sep 29, 2013
    Surrey, B.C.
    2001 Sea Ray 400 Sedan Bridge
    AB 320 VS RIB w/25hp Merc 2-strk
    3126 Cats, propped @ 22x23
    Very first boat was a 280DA twin 5.0l with out drives. Paid a captain $20/hr for a full 10hour day to show me the ropes. Must of docked her in her own slip 2 dozen times that day! Best $200 I ever spent. Confidence level went from pretty much 0 to comfortably taking my family out for a day. Your tractor trailer experience will definitely be a benefit. Get some education, coaching and practice and you do great!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. sibnai1

    sibnai1 Member

    Jul 18, 2014
    NJ, USA
    195 Bow Rider 5 Series
    4.3litre V6 I/O Alpha I Gen II
    there you go!! sounds like you will be fine and based on your responses (worried about being "that" guy) its sounds like you will be fine!!!! Learn, go slow at first and practice ................
  8. chuck1

    chuck1 Super Moderator TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    North GA Mountains
    Looking For Next One
    Looking For Next One
    Hint, never dock faster than you want to hit the dock.
    Welcome to CSR.
  9. La Maddalena

    La Maddalena New Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    2004 420 Sundancer w blue hull and hardtop
    twin Cummins 6CTA 8.3 M3 and ZH Hurth V drives
    Lots of good advice here. Our 360 DA was my first boat, although I had driven my dad's ski boat with single Evinrude 80 HP outboard 35 years ago. There were quite a few raised eyebrows in the yacht club we joined when they learned it was the first large boat I had ever driven. I was fortunate to have a great broker from Lake Union Sea Ray who offered to teach me when we bought the boat. We spent about 2 hours a day on 3 consecutive Saturday mornings, basically driving slow and docking the boat over and over again. Key points as many have said is go slow, control your momentum, and get the feel of the boat.. I'm sure if I could pick it up so fast you will too with your truck driving experience. Also I have heard repeatedly that as the boats get bigger, they are easier to control and dock, and I would agree.
  10. Therapy

    Therapy New Member

    Aug 6, 2009
    Georgian Bay Canada
    410 aft cabin
    454 mercrusiers
    My first and only boat is a 41' aft cabin. If you know nothing about boating then the starting size doesn't matter that much. I hired a retired marine police officer to give me docking lessons. Close quarter maneuvering is the most challenging. If you have a well stocked bar, you'll have no problem making friends and boats to follow. I boat on Georgian Bay, and navigation and chart reading are essential skills for both you and your 1st mate. The 30 thousand island that are my playground are littered with rocks and shoals.

    Power squadron is essential. After taking power squadron you'll realize that most boaters have no idea what they are doing

    Buy the boat you love, and you'll find boaters are particularly friendly and always helpful.
  11. BryanOnTheBay

    BryanOnTheBay Member

    Oct 6, 2013
    Edgewater, MD
    "Havana Crush" - 1998 270 Sundancer
    7.4L Mercruiser MPI Bravo III Outdrive
    The water with someone
    In addition, I would hire an experienced, licensed captain for 2 to 4 hours over a couple of weekends. Get some time on the boat in between, and the second session becomes a tune up/advanced course. Nothing beats time on water with someone professional who can guide you through it. The confidence builds is immeasurable.

  12. scooper321

    scooper321 Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jul 4, 2015
    Baltimore, MD
    "Lollygagger" 2003 Sundancer 320, Simrad NSS2 Evo9
    Twin 5.7L Horizon Mercruiser (350 MAG MPI) V-drives
    Welcome. My first boat was last year, a 320DA. People ask me: what did you come up from (about my boat, thinking I stepped up from something smaller). I say "land". They have no idea what i mean. Ha ha. Point is, I went from land to a 320. Was it too large for me? Absolutely. The first day at the helm it was really intimidating. Especially coming out of the Gunpowder at that awful RR bridge. But I took a week "staycation" right after buying her. Spent the week puttering around the marina, practicing docking on the transient slips. A small fiberglass repair was what is cost me. Come to think of it,that's probably what hiring a captain would have cost! But I learned. I'm still very much a newbie. But I don't feel like my boat is an intimidating size any more. The key points I learned early on:

    1) don't go any faster than you're willing to hit the dock.
    2) don't be too proud/stubborn to abort if it's not going right

    Oh, and go take xravenx up on his offer and meet the others. When I was boat shopping, Alegria invited me to see his boat, so I could get a feel for the size, layout, etc. Great guy. He had never met me, but was willing to help this newbie out. If the rest of the guys at Sue Creek are like him, that's a good bunch of guys to meet!

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk...
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
  13. MikeSR270

    MikeSR270 Member

    Sep 26, 2016
    Las Vegas
    1994 270 Sundancer DA
    2017 GMS Sierra Denali
    7.4L with Bravo II
    Ahoy all! I loved reading all your advice to newcomers and as a newbie myself, I thank all of you for helping us nervous nellies...lol. I've moved up from a 16ft Bayliner to a 94' 270 Sundancer. Quite a difference! Loving it so far. If anyone has a similar craft I'd love to bend your ear about stuff the dealer never told me lol.

  14. RidgeRunner

    RidgeRunner Member

    Jan 25, 2017
    Chesapeake VA
    Amberjack w/ Fishing Package. Full Camper Pkg. 3 ax. Trler. Standard Horizon 2200 VHF w/AIS No Mid
    Single 350 MAG MPI B3
    Just about anyone can drive in open water, just about. So lets concentrate on the close stuff.
    I've learned in my very short time of boating-
    Don't wait until your at the boat ramp, in front of a crowd and awaiting a day on the water, to learn to maneuver the vessel. -
    Don't go faster than your willing to hit something.
    I felt better once I used some outlying pilings to practice on.
    Also, unlike the road, the current and wind dictate your approach when docking and should not be underestimated..
    Slow is fast when docking
    Lastly, when pulling into a new Marina, don't hesitate to ask to dockmaster for a different location to dock if your pointed to some slip that doesn't favor your skill level.
    Enjoy it while things are working, it's a boat.

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