What can I say about me as a writer and owner of this site? Basically I’ve been boating continuously for over 45 years. My parents started us out with a several-year-old used boat when I was 13, and I learned at that young age how to do repairs not only in our backyard, but also on the water. So many things broke in those first years that I thought boating was more about working on them rather than driving them.
Boating anecdote #1
We once lost a prop in a quiet stream off our primary river and many miles down river from our trailer and launch ramp. It just spun off because the locking nut was threaded the wrong direction by a shop. My dad spent 30 minutes diving in a muddy river to find it with no luck at all. There were no cell phones in the 70’s kids.
I’ll never forget waiting with mom and my 10 year old brother for 2 hours after my dad climbed up the river bank and hitched a ride back to town while we sat anchored along the remote shore. And when he returned, I piloted our boat onto the trailer steeply perched at a sideways angle on the river bank with his truck blocking the highway, while he kept it all from rolling backwards into the river. It was one of the first times I loaded the boat myself. Talk about trial under fire! But I did it successfully at 15 years of age, tied it down properly with the winch and safety straps, and I’ve been learning new things about boating every year since then.
Suddenly I became the cool dad with a boat
As the years went by, we bought larger and newer boats, and I learned to water ski, slalom ski, wakeboard, tube and knee board. Once my wife and I started a family, we bought our first boat when the kids were 6 and 7 years old. Man was that a lot of work. We sold it a few years later, only to get boating fever again when they reached double digit ages.
Our kids loved being towed on tubes and later learned to kneeboard. As they got older, dad advanced them to faster tubes and more serious towing tricks and maneuvers, always with both their safety and the safety of other boaters in mind. When they reached the minimum age for getting their boating licenses, they both did schools and became certified.
So PWC’s had to be next
At that point, it was time for their first personal watercraft. We started with 155 hp intermediate level model with programmable maximum speed so I could control their level of aggression. I taught them how to approach riding safely and proper boating courtesy while still allowing them to have a blast riding their shared PWC. After a few years, I moved us all up to 260 hp performance PWC’s in 2015.
Along this journey from boating in 1974 to PWC’s in 2019, I observed many boaters and PWC riders who didn’t understand the basics of vessel operation, handling, safety and even how to properly launch, load, tie down and tow their watercraft. Rather than get angry that they were in the way, I always offered help. I shared tips and tricks with many watersports enthusiasts that seemed to be greatly appreciated. I helped prevent numerous costly mistakes, possibly prevented a few injuries, and I’m certain my maintenance tips helped save them money as well.
Boating anecdote #2
In October 2019, a complete stranger watched my son and I load our 27’ SeaRay (8,500 pounds, 32’ trailer, one try.) At 23, the kid can load it in heavy current or high winds, hitting the marks every time. I know the ramp well enough to get in the right spot quickly. Too deep and you drop off its end; too shallow and you can’t get a heavy boat to the front pulley with the prop raised. We once pulled it out in a huge hurry between storms right before major flooding hit in 2018. Big angle, heavy current. 10 minutes from marina to strapped down. We just have the routine down.
This woman tried over and over to back her pontoon trailer down the ramp while her husband waited and we loaded beside her. As soon as I pulled my boat out and attached the safety straps, she approached me, handed me her keys and almost pleaded for me to back up and help load their boat. It’s not often someone hands their car keys to a complete stranger based on watching one trailer backup.
Still more random boasting
I’ve saved a few families from ruined days by quickly fixing a problem that might have otherwise stopped them right at the ramp. My young adult son now takes his friends out for tubing and PWC rides, and their parents have commented on the safety briefings he gives his guests before they set off. Makes this dad proud to hear that! And his grandpa gets credit for passing this stuff along to me in the first place.
I’ve worked directly with my local Yamaha and Sea-Doo dealer on several issues, and they have been very helpful in extending my knowledge of the personal watercraft arena. One local shop owner is a multi-time world champion Sea-Doo racer, and I’ve gained much knowledge from him on performance and safety. My son was allowed to obtain a Sea-Doo National Guard Racing team life jacket, which he proudly wears each time he rides! They aren’t available for purchase, so he was one happy 18 year old when they offered this to him.
Now I’ve embarked on this journey to teach what I’ve learned over the years with the launch of this web site. I’ve always dived deep into all my hobbies and activities over the years to do things the right way. With personal watercraft, I feel this is critical. And beyond just understanding the safety and riding tips, I’ve learned how things work so that I can save time and money. I hope to share these tips with you soAnd that you can benefit from all the things I‘ve learned over the years through trial and error, talking to other PWC experts and sometimes through the school of hard knocks.