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Old    Baitkiller (baitkiller)      Join Date: Jan 2010       02-06-2010, 4:02 PM Reply   
Sorry for the long read girls. This is an article I wrote last year for the local paper. I'm a marine surveyor in Fl. and work on the water on boats from 20-200' every day.
I think most of you drive but I though I would share anyway.
Thanks, John

Let the ladies drive.


Most of my days are spent on or near the water. Except of course for those days when Iím trapped in front of this infernal keyboard. As I work, I watch the world float by. Kayaks, Sea Rays and super yachts. One boat at a time, sometimes more, some well piloted and other less so but all of them coming and going like the tide. The reasons we are boaters are all the same regardless of the craft; Mainly we love being on the water and being out of doors on nice days. Even the guys on working boats. There are easier ways to make a living and these guys wouldnít haul traps if there werenít a certain amount of seawater coursing through their veins. They enjoy being on the water, period. We all do.

But do you know why else we all go through whatever it is we go through to be able to go boating? Because driving a boat is fun. Thatís it. Fun. Big boats and small, power or sail, I donít care. I would rather be operating a boat, any boat than doing just about anything else. It doesnít even have to be a nice day. Sometimes bad weather is just as fun. I canít think of anything more powerful than wind and water. Just last Saturday I was at Jupiter inlet on the outgoing tide and the waves were stacked up steep and deep. We were in a little open boat and had zero intention of braving the eight to ten foot blown out surf but all four guys in the boat were drawn to the dangerous pass and all four wanted to get as close as we could just to watch the wind work on the water. To our astonishment a 50-foot battlewagon came into view barreling down on the pass. We cleared the narrow inlet to give him room as the big Viking pinned the throttles down and crashed straight ahead for the center. The spray was exploding off the flared bow and the wind was blowing it into rainbows as the beast came straight in, totally committed and damn the torpedoes. He made it. When the yachtís big hull settled back in the water there was a collective breath aboard our little boat. It seems we all were holding our breath just watching.
We all four looked at each other and we all had the same thought: ďMan, that sure looked like fun!Ē
So I wonder, do the girls know how much fun it is to drive? As I work and watch the world go by I see mostly men doing all the driving. There are women on many of the boats to be sure. Generally reading a book, talking on the phone or chatting with another girl. Generally when I see a girl driving there are only girls aboard. I think it is culture and possessiveness.
The two problems with the girls not driving are straightforward. The first is that isnít fair for the boys to have all the fun. And second itís just plain dangerous. Accidents happen, as do medical emergencies. Your wife absolutely must be able to handle your boat.

I speak from experience here. I am pretty sure that my mother and wife both could start the boat and get home from the beach but thatís about it. They donít have the wheel time to handle the boat in less than ideal conditions. They donít have the wheel time to understand how to read the water and feel the subtleties of wind and current. Iím not sure either one can operate the GPS plotter, or knows VHF radio etiquette or understands the just what the DSC button does and when to push it. And they certainly donít have the experience to dock in strong current.
I plan to remedy this situation. When we next find ourselves afloat as a family you can bet I wont be driving. Iím sure to get some resistance but I plan to hold strong.
Remember fellows, the more wheel time she gets the more comfortable she will be and the more fun she will start having. Think about it, she can drive while you rig the rods and baits. She can hold the boat in position while you throw the cast net for baits or drop the marker buoy in just the right spot. As she gains confidence you gain trust. Soon you will trust her completely with your precious boat and you just may find yourself with more time to enjoy both of your best girls.
ďíCould save your life misterĒ
Old    SoCal MOB (rnopr8)      Join Date: Apr 2005       02-06-2010, 8:04 PM Reply   
Great print John. This spoke to me personally. My husband usually drove the boat, I did once in a while. I always backed it in a picked it up. I drove my son when he rode because my husband does not pull a wakeboarder well. The more I DIDN'T drive the boat, the more I didn't want to. But lately he doesn't go out anymore and I still want to. So I decided it was time for me to get better at it. I took my all guy crew out and I did everything. I used to fly planes so I figured if I could fly a plane I could dock a boat! And I did. The same thing holds true with flying planes. Your spouse needs to know how to fly if anything happens to you. Thanks for the reminder your post brings.
Old    Audrey (sexyws6mama)      Join Date: Mar 2008       02-07-2010, 5:09 AM Reply   
When I wakeboard, it's usually me and my boyfriend, so I learned to drive for him!
Old    kaligirl            02-07-2010, 8:20 AM Reply   
Thanks for the post...I've always insisted that I learn how to do everything from launching, driving, docking to picking up the boat. Maybe because my dad never wanted me to have to rely on "some man" to do something. He even bought me a shirt when I was five that said, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." I've always thought of it as an independence thing...never as a safety thing. But you're absolutely right it is important for women to know how to operate equipment. It'll also cut down on launch/pick-up lines because someone doesn't know how to drive the boat or the tow vehicle. Lucky for me, my husband isn't a helm hog.
Old    SoCal MOB (rnopr8)      Join Date: Apr 2005       02-07-2010, 9:12 AM Reply   
Kathleen...when we take the Hags out we will have a boat full of ladies who can all drive!!
Old    Alice W (aliwake)      Join Date: Dec 2006       02-07-2010, 2:29 PM Reply   
yeah, it's always frustrating seeing some loser holding up everyone at the boat ramp because he refuses to let his wife help... and then does everything himself really badly - and slowly!

Most of the ladies I know drive, and the ones that don't I have encouraged to get more involved. You're definitely right John - it is fun, and it's not particularly hard, so I'm not sure why some girls are so hesitant to get involved. Maybe they're too worried about excessive criticism when they're learning.

It would be great to add a driving component to some ladies riding clinics.

I would love to learn how to reverse the trailer, but I've never had an opportunity to try. Might start thinking about how to make it happen... :-)
Old    Ryan (liquiddiet)      Join Date: Feb 2009       03-09-2010, 6:14 AM Reply   
Hey ladies, looking for thoughts on this. My girlfriend is a little hesitant to pilot my boat. I dont want to force her into anything she doesnt want to do, so i have just been easing her into things and taking time to explain boat safety and techniques to her along the way. I figure the more she knows the lest intimidating it will be, and even more important if god forbid there was a emergency situation. I think she sees how i baby my boat, and she doesnt want that responsibility, but to be honest i trust her more than some of my friends, and it is JUST a boat. I think she would enjoy it if she gave it a try, but maybe its not for everyone. Thoughts?
Old    Kat Laird (wakekat15)      Join Date: Jul 2005       03-09-2010, 8:57 AM Reply   
I would start with just having her drive too/from your riding spot, just to get the feel of it. If you have perfect pass, I would start teaching her how to pull riders, make turns, etc. Once she gets the hang of how the boat handles, have her work on slow manuevers (maybe beaching on a soft spot on the lake with no obstacles). I think most people are pretty intimidated by the whole loading the trailer situation. We have people come up to us often and ask for tips based on our 30 seconds load/unload times! So, if you can get her comfortable with how the boat backs a certain direction, how the steering is very different at idle speeds, etc...she should be ready to load it on the trailer (assuming you have trailer guides, as those are great for beginners)!!

Good luck and let us know how it goes...
Old    Greg C (v220ls)      Join Date: Aug 2004       03-09-2010, 9:08 AM Reply   
My wife likes to drive the boat, I think? She has never said she doesn't! She is a much better driver than most of my guy friends and probably me as well? We have three different boats that we rotate thru with our group most of the time she drives all of them. I say more women drivers!!!!
Go ladies, I just want to ride!
Old    Alice W (aliwake)      Join Date: Dec 2006       03-11-2010, 5:02 PM Reply   
hey Ryan, definitely start her driving the boat when there aren't many other boats or people around, and without a rider out the back. just a nice quiet cruise. let her get a feel for the boat, and if she's still not interested, then don't push it.
Have you explained to her that you'd like her to know what to do in an emergency, and that she's more importatnt to you than the boat?! no point telling us - she's the one that needs to know
Old    Ryan (liquiddiet)      Join Date: Feb 2009       03-15-2010, 6:55 AM Reply   
I am in the process of installing PP now so hopefully that will ease things a little.

Alice that is exactly what i did last season, having her drive during nice cruises. If i get the speed set during surfing she will steer so i can teach the rider, but she is too nervous to circle and pickup a rider. I'm sure its just a comfort level thing. I do explain the reason i am showing her things is for emergency reasons, so i will just continue to take baby steps and see what happens.
Old    Alice W (aliwake)      Join Date: Dec 2006       03-15-2010, 8:00 PM Reply   
if it's the pick-ups that are worrying her, I'd get her to practice some around a buoy or a lifejacket or something else floating in the water. Maybe teach her to do a bigger loop than you would usually do - the rider will still get the rope, but she won't have to drive as close to them. eventually she'll get comfortable and realise it's not a big deal!
Old    Kat Laird (wakekat15)      Join Date: Jul 2005       03-16-2010, 6:30 AM Reply   
I have learned that steering for surfing is quite a bit different. When the rider falls, just pull it back to idle and let go of the steering wheel to let the boat turn itself. Depending on which side you have weighted, it can be an impossible task to turn against the weighted side. Also, just make sure she always keeps the rider on the right so that she never loses sight of them. It makes me very uncomfortable, as the rider, when the driver picks me up on their blind side!
Old    Seahawks #1 Fan Robert T (cwb4me)      Join Date: Apr 2010       05-31-2010, 6:03 PM Reply   
my wife drives for me all the time . she puts the boat in the water and puts it on the trailer. she gets comments from the men at the dock all the time when it's windy and rough. they say you sure made that look easy.its all about repetition. it builds confidence.i get her to drive our motorhome for the same reason.if anything happens to me she can handle the situation.but she always drives the boat. unless i'm pulling her!
Old    kaligirl            06-04-2010, 9:07 PM Reply   
All ladies should learn how to drive so that when it turns out their husband is a lying cheating a***hole, they can take the boat out by themselves.
Old    Kat Laird (wakekat15)      Join Date: Jul 2005       06-05-2010, 5:07 AM Reply   
lol. Kathleen!
Old    KDA (idaho_hillbilly)      Join Date: Jun 2009       06-06-2010, 11:13 AM Reply   
My wife is a VERY good boat driver. It helped when she was pregnant for a couple summers and all she did was drive the boat. I'm in the process now teaching my 9 and 13 year old daughters how to drive, dock and pull. We are REAL close with the 13 year old were she can drive the boat when I'm surfing/wakeboarding.

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