Closing speed

Don knows boats

Mar 28, 2024

We recently got a blast from long time broker/boater and good guy, Don Finkle at RCR Yachts in New York state who informed us that they are now introducing statewide mandatory courses for boat operators.  So far it looks like their courses resemble our Operators Card but his note really pointed out the need for boaters to know what they are doing.

In Florida earlier this year Don observed that high power boats with multiple engines really throw a big wake sending paddlers and canoeists flying.  But also pretty critical is that many boats – big hp rigs but also foilers, both sail and power, are obtaining some pretty hefty speeds. As Don underlined, it’s one thing to drive at 90 kph on the highway where there are lines and access roads have stop signs and quite another on the water where any boat can go anywhere.

Yes, there are ‘rules of the road’ like yield to paddlers and the boat on the right has right of way, but 1 – they are complicated 2- not everyone remembers the course 3- you need to bet correctly that the other boater read the same books you did.  That was always true but today with boats closing in on each other at even 20 knots or lots more, a lot can go extremely wrong very quickly. Two boats at 25 = 50 knots = 100kph. Panic, misjudgement, equipment failure can add to the scenario.

(I can see you closing the page and yelling ‘enough already’ so I won’t go on about hypothermia, PFD use and …  )

Don has a very good final note in his writing that I am happy to borrow, “Slowing down is a good first reaction.”   Good advice. Have a safe and slow spring and summer!

John Morris, Online Editor

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