How to handle a boat in rough water?? How to handle a boat in rough water??
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Boats and Motors

    How to handle a boat in rough water??
from Cw (208.165.117.222)  
1/23/1999 12:29:00 AM

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 I've noticed several posts about it depends on the skill of the driver if a boat rides good, or not, in rough water. Keeping in mind that rough water to some is not rough to others, etc. and noting that fishing the Great Lakes in rough water is not like fishing Lake Fork or Sam Rayburn in Texas, in rough water. I think it would be good if some knowledgeable people posts their opinions as to the correct ways to drive a boat in rough water. Thanks.


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   rough water from larry (199.174.176.155)  1/23/1999 7:27:00 AM
 I have had a number of boats including a cruiser. The best advice i got on rough water boat handling was from a tuna captain from prince edward island. Always keep the bow up heading into the wind and approach waves 10-15 degrees off center. Half throttle, you waant to stay on top of the waves not in the troughs. Things change when you have a following sea. You want to keep the bow lower you don't want to become swamped from the rear. Also you want to keep just ahead of the waves, this also tends to push the boat. With the proper amount of throttle you can be in total control. I had a chance to put this to the test on lake ontario 7 years ago. We were trying to out run a storm. The boat was a 25 footer. The wind was comming at us from the rear,8 foot waves comming relentlessly. Kept the boat 15 degrees off center and just ahead of the waves it worked out great. There were 4 on board As long as no one looked back it wasn't too bad. The two ladies left permanent finger nail marks in the gelcoat. I'll never forget that captain's advice as it has served me well....larry
   Experanced but no expert from Hamby's Protector Beaching Bumper  1/23/1999 8:12:00 AM
 As stated i certainly do not consider myself an expert. but in 50 years of boating in small boats i have gained some experance in handling all kinds of conditions incluiding some that were extreamely dangerous. Have been in some larger boats,charter & guide boats in salt water & seen how the experanced skipper handled,like the advise above. I have previously posted my belief about the advantage of a hydrafoil on a small boat. To make it simple a foil allows greater responce to trim wihout as much cavation. This gives a greater lift to the bow which is very critical in very high waves or swells. There is a critical difference in handling the boat in swells & waves. The main concern is to NEVER allow the bow to fall & spear an on comeing wave. One mistake & its all over when you swamp & lose all power. Fighting the steering wheel, the trim & the throttle all at once & judging the on coming waves is not any easy thing to accomplish. If you are not suddenly caught in a fast moving storm in the middle of a large body of water the most prudent thing to do is ram the boat into a cove or on the shore as soon as possible. A boat can be repaired or replaced you life cant. In 50 years of boating i can count only 2 times that i was very concerned that i would not make it back to terra firma. There were of course many many times that it would have been a little dangerous with out proper boat handling knowledge. Its always an uncomfortable & sometimes a tough ride,so why do it if you dont have to. Getting back home or winning a T is not worth the gamble that many take every year. And i can include myself in past years. Guess im just a little more cautious with the possible years i have left. www.hambys.com
   Leave the motor trimmed flat on the transom from Skipper (206.155.95.34)  1/23/1999 8:37:00 AM
 Hamby, one thing to eliminate things to worry about in rough water is to leave the motor flat on the transom. You never know when you are going to be stopped by a wave and have to quickly get going again without having to wait for the trim to pull the motor back down so you can plane off again. Probably, the only ones who need to trim up in a storm are the ones with those "whale tales" on their motors. On most of today's v bottomed bass rigs, the idea is to let that V cut the wave not bounce the pad on top of it. If you have an old trihull design, you need to pray alot, but don't hit the waves head on, hit them at an angle, but take most of the wake on the side you your boat. Skipper
   Back Wash from Katman (208.147.213.1)  1/23/1999 9:56:00 AM
 A common mistake on Big Water is running to close to shore. Where we fish on Lake Michigan if you run within 200 yards of the shore there is terrible back wash. The waves come in and hit the rocky shore and actually bounce back causing waves to go in all directions instead of a nice easy roll. Most guys that get in trouble immediately head for shore and then follow the shore line back to the harbor. Not always the best thing to do. You must know your water. I agree with everyone listed above, DO NOT TAKE THE WAVE HEAD ON. A slight degree is better but be careful not to take too much of a degree, it could lead to big problems.
   Rough water tactics from Jim Slonaker (207.220.179.19)  1/23/1999 10:32:00 AM
 This is a great question CW. Obviously not all boats will handle the same when it come to rough water. When I fish lake Erie I use the same tactics as Skipper does. I keep the motor trimmed flat and just enough speed to keep my boat up on plain. With the motor trimmed flat and my speed down I will be cutting the waves instead of bouncing over them or launching off of them. Patience is a big factor in dangerous situations like these. Take your time, when you get in a hurry you make mistakes. These type of mistakes can be life threatening.

I had to laugh at Larry’s response concerning his passengers. They have a lot of time to think about the bad things that can happen since they aren’t preoccupied with driving the boat. If I had my choice I think I would rather be driving then riding.

   Good Advice from Cw (208.165.117.10)  1/23/1999 10:36:00 AM
 Thanks for the advice. I don't suppose there are "carved in stone" steps for one to follow in rough water, but to use common sense and do what you all have suggested in your posts. Larry, I especially liked your post about the ladies fingernail prints in the gelcoat.
   Good advice from carlton (152.163.201.179)  1/23/1999 12:52:00 PM
 This is all good advice and remember before you start to tie every thing down or put it away and don your life jackets. Good, Luck Carlton
   Rough Water from Kris (129.106.23.13)  1/23/1999 1:12:00 PM
 I was raised on bass fishing, but I 've also done a lot of offshore fishing. My friend and I used to fish out of a 1750cc Hydra-Sports. For the size, that boat handled the seas very well. Most of it comes down to actually driving the boat. I've been in a few 25 foot center consoles and found that I got more wet and beat up in those boats. It had to do with the driving technique. The biggest boats won't ride good if you drive it wrong. The other guys are right about not hitting waves head on. You need to take the waves at an angle(not too much though). Another trick I found was reading the waves. You need to look ahead and around you. It keeps you alert. You never know when a big swell is coming. Also, you should aim for the lower sections of the waves. Don't drive in a straight line to your destination. I find the intersection points of the waves and go for it. That will be the smoother and easier place to go. Keep your motor trimmed up just enough to keep the spray down(not too high because you will lose the cutting effect of the vee). Riding swells also works too. Just keep adjusting your throttle setting for the conditions. I don't know if I would ever go offshore in a 17 foot boat again, but I did learn how to drive the heck out of a boat in rough water by doing it. I drove that boat 25 miles in 6 foot plus seas once(special marine warning). It was absolutely crazy. I got pictures of some of the water spouts we saw out there. Oh yeah, that was the last trip I took offshore in that boat. Anyways, be careful. If its too rough, stay on shore.
   rough water from jim (153.37.232.235)  1/23/1999 9:19:00 PM
 if you dont know how to drive a boat in rough water take a course with the coast guard or go with someone that knows what they are doing, it`s somthing that you cant learn how to do overnight. good luck
   Agree with Jim from Skipper (206.155.95.24)  1/24/1999 8:49:00 AM
 Jim, I agree with that. There is no way to put into words what you need to do with a specific rig in rough water. Every boat will handle different. The deep vee bass boats can take wakes closer to head on that tri hulls or flat bottom jon's. Driving a boat in rough water requires that you are very familiar with your rig, what it can and cant do. I have a 15 foot jon with a 40 merc. In rough water, I have to drop the motor 1 notch on my pins. My dad's bass boat is an old trihull rig, it is very dangerous in rough water. He put one of those crappy whale tales on it. That thing tends to drive the bow down if you don't have the right attitude on the motor. I used to live in West Alabama and fished the Warrior Tombigbee area. In my 14 ft flat bottom, it was tough to handle those barge wakes. The only way to do it was to back off in the tough and pour it on it to pick the bow up above the swell peak, and then pray the impact didn't knock about 20 rivets loose. Practice makes perfect driving boats. Skipper
   Be careful from Pw (199.228.142.1)  1/25/1999 3:25:00 PM
 I would rather head into the waves then with them. But a simple rule that I use is: Into the waves, keep your bow high, try to use the 'V'. Going with the waves, pick one and try to stay on top of it.

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