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How To Boat Safely at Any Speed
Marc Granet (left) and Scotty Begovich (right) have won multiple World Championships, and understand the importance of boating safely at any speed.
Know Your Boat
The ocean swells are building but Granet pushes the boat, and in short order we are completely airborne, props revving as they leave the water. When we land, the boat catches and keeps on going. I feel like we are flying, but when I look over Granet’s shoulder at the GPS reading, we are under highway speeds: 50 mph.
The lesson learned here is twofold. One, speed feels a lot faster on the water, particularly when the elements are thrown into the mix — and the fact that you are not buckled in with a seat belt. Two, this is a driver in complete control of the situation in a boat that’s made to do this. In fact, Granet says the boat would perform better if he goosed the throttle higher, but we might not appreciate it so much. The smart captain knows his vessel.
“I recommend you find a quiet place on the water with your life jacket on and a friend at your side, and go out and test your boat,” Granet says. “Start making some turns at speed [editor’s note: typically 30 mph] and learn how your boat reacts.” How does it handle wakes? How does it handle added weight? What changes when you have crew up in the bow or all on one side, and when you have full fuel or half fuel? You can learn how your boat will respond when you need to make a quick decision. “Maybe you only have to turn the wheel 10 degrees to make an evasive maneuver,” he says.
As we run back into the calmer waters inside the inlet, I don’t realize this point is about to be driven home.