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.
SCUBA Diving 1988-present
For my medical school graduation in 1988, my parents bought my wife and PADI SCUBA certification courses. We learned the basics from reading with one pool session per week. Our state is land-locked. When it was time to do the certification testing, out instructor felt that we were advanced enough to do it on a trip.
So we packed up all of gear and headed to Florida to board a boat to the Bahamas. Freeport specifically. Keep in mind this was in 1988. Boat passage was a bit of a free for all, and we had 12 people plus 3 crew on a 65’ boat
We did out certification dives one per day, and then did 2-3 more fun dives each day. Hammerheads and nurse sharks were fun to see up close. Barracuda were a little creepy, especially at night. Once our instructor was comfortable with our skill, we did some advanced dives even though we hadn’t received the Advanced training.
We’ve now dived with hammerheads, stingrays, Manta Rays, and as many reefs as you can think of. We’ve swam through volcano tubes in Hawaii and coral formations in the Caribbean. We’ve lain on a rock bed while one ton Manta Rays fed overhead, occasionally knocking our regulators and masks off.
We’ve experienced the disorientation from haloclines in Mexico’s cenotes, the only time I wasn’t quite sure of which was was up. We’ve surfaced in caves to admire the many rock formations. Wrecks, oh so many wrecks. We penetrated the hospital ship and the concrete wreck in St. Thomas USVI 2 days after my daughter’s certification. Her dive master said he was the most natural diver he’d seen, so he allowed her to accompany us.
I’ve rescued 3 divers over the years who became disoriented and lost the boat. Then panic set in followed by rapid breathing and attempted ascents. I’ve had to calm them down and lead them back to the boat. In 2 of the three, we had to buddy breathe because they were nearly out of air.
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.
As a practicing physician with extensive experience in trauma radiology, safety always comes first when we ride. That’s true for boats, jet skis, paddle boards and especially true when we scuba dive.
Personal Boating and Jet Ski Advising
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 so 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.