Author Archives: Dominic Coleman

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RYA Powerboat L2 Courses in Jan/Feb. Book a course with a friend & choose a date to suit you

Come and join us on our RIB to undertake your PB2 Course. Suitable for complete beginners, by the end you’ll be able to handle the boat on your own. No need to have completed L1 as this material is also covered providing you’ve previously been on the water. You can also apply for your ICC (International Certificate) if needed to use a boat aboard. Book now – 01202 901267.  If you’re looking for just one space on a course that can be organised too.


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Online Courses

Why not make the most of this quieter time of year and undertake an online course so that you are ready for the longer boating days ahead. Courses available on a variety of topics.  Please do not hesitate to contact us to chat further..


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Winter Boating

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Winter Boating

I always get a little down when someone says to me ‘season’s coming to a close’…… it’s like being turfed out of your favourite restaurant at the end of the night because everyone who works there wants to go home….. We should enjoy ourselves based upon our own discovery and ideals.

It’s a beautiful day out there, why aren’t we out?  Let’s go Winter Boating!

So, if your idea of boating is sunbathing on the foredeck in the afternoon, the mere suggestion of such with an air temperature of 4 degrees, coupled with the fact that it’s pitch black at 1700, is likely to make you want to stick your swimming costume up my nose. But boating is managing expectations, & planning; as well we know…..

Working in the industry

Our summers are busy and we don’t get a lot of time for our own boating as there’s always the opportunity to turn the ‘not currently booked’ day into a last minute session to help someone learn a skill on board or move their boat to help them enjoy the net day more.. Winter is a different story.

When I was growing up, I have many memories of being out walking in the Peak district (we lived about as far inland as you can get without heading towards the sea on the other side!).  All of my fondest memories include a snowdrift or the image of a stove behind a wall with mittens and a hat.    I’m sure someone had sold it well to drag me there in the first place. If we’re dressed appropriately and understand what we’re going out to, the environment we meet at this time of year is arguably the most colourful, beautiful and tranquil…

My Grandfather did regularly tell us that there was no such thing as the wrong weather, only the wrong clothes…

 

Winter for Leisure

Only last week, we took a couple out into the harbour as the weather in October had thwarted their ability to achieve the handling goals we’d desired. The first day in December has just brought a beautifully still, clear and crisp morning with the perfect opportunity to explore the handling characteristics of a boat that needs good weather to be enjoyable. although removing ice from the boats in the morning adds a little to the safety management.

Winter for work

The earlier part of the week saw us undertaking an ‘advanced’ powerboat course for some folks who need a commercial qualification to move forwards with their activities working on the water. Ironically, this course can be run in much more unpleasant conditions due to the expectations of a commercial skipper, although the same band of pleasant weather meant that we focussed on the fine tuning and precision in manouvres rather than coming home in a storm!!

On Land

There’s also navigation to be learnt, Winter time is a perfect opportunity to bolster the unpleasant boating days with a little workup on how to use charts, electronics and associated tools to get us there and back successfully.  This skill development is only successful when immediately put into action on the water. Our interactive tools in the classroom make this relevant and fun!!

We keep people’s minds current with Gift vouchers in the run up to Christmas.  It’s good to be flexible so that people can use these to come out for a course, have a half day or day experience driving at sea.  We also create hot chocolate and cookie infused navigation in the classroom throughout the winter and early spring.

Booking course places has been made easy and we regularly supply the course ‘in advance’ in the form of a gift voucher for Christmas, Birthdays or other special occasions.

BOOK YOUR COURSE PLACE

 

Gift vouchers have helped us tailor precisely peoples expectations to the activities, ensuring that we ALWAYS ‘leave people wanting more’

Happy Christmas boating.


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Powerboat Skills Refresher Sessions

If you haven’t been afloat for a while or just want the chance to refresh skills we run Powerboat Skills Refresher Sessions.  Contact us directly to discuss.


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RYA Powerboat Level 1 (PB1) or Powerboat Level 2 (PB2) Course?

Do I need to take RYA Powerboat Level 1 (PB1) before I take Powerboat Level 2 (PB2)?

What is the difference between the PB1 and PB2 courses?

 

The simple answer would be no, you don’t need to take PB1 first but it is a little more complex. Indeed, many people will tell you not to bother with PB1 but instead to start at PB2. Instead our answer would be that it really depends.  Your experience, your attitude towards the water and what you want to achieve from your course will affect your choice.

 

RYA Powerboat Level 1 (PB1)

Many people dismiss this course as ‘a kids ‘course but, in our opinion, it would be a mistake to do so.  It is well worth finding out more before your decision.  Each year we will have a few clients that we feel would have been better to start at PB1 . This year we were lucky enough to host several courses for adults where PB1 was exactly the right course for those individuals.

The anticipated outcome for those undertaking the PB1 course is that they will obtain a basic understanding of powerboating.  In addition, they will be able to take the helm under supervision.   It is billed as the ‘Start Powerboating’ course and is great for those who:

  • have perhaps never been on the water,
  • plan to crew rather than be skipper but want to know a few basics
  • want to have a little extra time to master skills
  • are nervous and want a low-key relaxed approach to learning
  •  want to have an experience day learning something new but aren’t certain whether boating will be a big feature in the future

 

Although the course is a full day we tend to run to a slightly shorter day (probably 9.30 – 4.30) to keep people engaged and leave feeling confident rather than exhausted! We also sometimes use a smaller boat for a PB1 courses if we think that will aid confidence.

In addition, youngsters can take this course. They may take it from the age of 8 although we tend to suggest that if they are attending a youngsters-only course that they perhaps wait until age 10 unless very keen about the water. We do of course welcome youngsters on courses with their parents or grandparents too!

 

RYA Powerboat Level 2 (PB2)

For many people this can be the first step on their route to powerboating. Particularly relevant to those who are confident, have perhaps been boating before with friends and who plan to be the Skipper on board their boats.

The course is now referred to as Powerboat Handling which is a good reflection of the topics covered. It is a comprehensive two days and you should expect the course to run 9-5 (approx) both days in order to cover all the material. Please note it is not just a course completion certificate and you do need to reach a certain standard. For the majority the course is achieved within the two days but there will be a few occasions where we need to allocate a little extra time. Upon successful completion you may apply for your International Certificate of Competence (ICC) if required.

Many of our students do start at Level 2 even where they haven’t been on the water before, but they do so understanding that it is a comprehensive and fairly fast paced two days. Of course, we are always happy to schedule extra time if needed as we want you to leave not only with a Certificate but also feeling confident.   At the end of your Level 2 course you should feel confident in taking a boat out on your own (or Helming a boat) in daylight, calm conditions and in familiar waters.

 

Conclusion

PB1 and PB2 follow a similar course structure but the standard which needs to be attained will differ. At PB1 you will undertake manoeuvres under the direct instruction of our Instructor. At PB2 the Instructor will teach you in the first instance.  You will be expected to be able to make the manoeuvres yourself by the end and make suitable judgement calls. PB2 also looks at planning speed manoeuvres, retrieving a man overboard and additional theory such as pilotage and basic chartwork.

 

Hopefully this brief introduction will help guide you towards the right course for you. Please do just give us a call to chat about the best option. Many adults will start at PB2 but don’t be put off PB1 if you feel extra time would build confidence.   In our next blog we will look at the course content, what to bring and what to expect from courses.

 

 


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RYA Day Skipper or Powerboat Level 2?

A question we get asked is how do the Day Skipper and the Powerboat Level 2 Course fit together? Which is first?

The answer is not quite as simple as it may first seem. The RYA run two certification schemes, the Powerboat Scheme and the Motor Cruising Scheme. (To be fair there are more than two schemes but these are the one relevant to motorboats)

The Powerboat Scheme is generally for those people who intend to use boats under 10m.  These are usually open boats and often single engine.  The Motor Cruising Scheme is generally for those who will be using bigger boats.  They are usually that are capable of living on board or venturing further afield. Typically, they are over 10m, have accommodation and are often twin engine.

This is a generalisation and there will be circumstances and boats that don’t neatly fit into the categories.  Alongside the Powerboat and Motor Cruising Scheme are the Shore based courses or theory that supplements the practical and these courses are used for both practical schemes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Powerboat Level 1 (PB1), Powerboat Level 2 (PB2), Intermediate, Tender Operators and Advanced Powerboat Courses all fit under the Powerboat Scheme. By the time people move onto the Intermediate or Advanced Powerboat Scheme, it is recommended that they have theory to Day Skipper or Yachtmaster Theory Standard.

The Motor Cruising Scheme includes the practical Start Motor Cruising, Helmsman, Day Skipper, Advanced Pilotage and Coastal Skipper courses. For some of the higher-level courses there is even a separate exam.  Often students will undertake preparation ‘courses’ before Yachtmaster practical exams.

The term Day Skipper is often misunderstood to be one course but it should be noted there is a theory course or a practical course.

Conclusion:

If you’re looking to use a small open dayboat you should start by looking at the Powerboat Scheme.  Specifically you should look at the PB1 or PB2 courses. When you look to progress and move onto journeys further afield you should supplement the practical courses with some theory.  The Essential Navigation& Seamanship and then Day Skipper Theory would be ideal. If you’re planning on using bigger live aboard boats, then look at the Motor Cruising Scheme.  You should perhaps start with the Helmsman and moving onto the Day Skipper Practical.  Bear in mind the practical is after the Day Skipper Theory course.

Further Information:

Further information on the schemes and courses can be found here: RYA Course Schemes or why not contact us and we’ll send you a bespoke plan suitable to your experiences and aims.

 

 


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Winter Boating and Clothing Suggestions

The weather has definitely taken a turn for the cooler this last week. As a result my normal boating gear has had a few additions. New boaters regularly ask me if we boat all year and the answer is a definite yes! The secret is to planning the boating and your waterproof kit well. We’ll cover the boat side in a separate blog but today its time to consider our clothing options. I write this from the female and small open boat perspective. Dom might have other views as he is usually tucked up inside a warm cabin!

Footwear

Step one is to source good footwear. Over the years I have moved to always wearing boots in the winter. Boating boots are not cheap I’m afraid and its really frustrating to buy a pair that doesn’t last. My current favourites are my Maindeck Short Leather Boots. I only bought them at the Boatshow in Sept so can’t comment too much on durability yet. However, so far I’ve found them very cosy (thermal lining) & non slip. They also have a decent sole that takes some of the impact out of waves.

Early on in my boating journey I bought the cheaper boots with thin soles and in my mind that is a mistake – they just don’t last, aren’t warm and don’t take any impact. My last pair of decent boots I absolutely loved for comfort and they did me ok but had a very rapid deterioration once they had got wet until finally the sole fell off! 🙁 It lead to a tricky walk back across the yard!

If you are going to invest in a decent pair of boots keep them as salt water free as possible. Also make sure they dry out well. Footwear is obviously a challenging subject as almost everyday someone asks about my boots. This leads to a happy dance from me demonstrating my comfy boots with dry and cosy feet!

Waterproof Socks

Ok not the most exciting subject to have but trust me – my boating life has been revolutionised by waterproof socks! They look ridiculous so try to put them on in privacy but warm, dry feet is a wonderful feeling! I currently have a pair I bought from Nauticalia in the sale (washed regularly and worn with ordinary socks I hasten to add!). These have lasted well and I plan to supplement them this year with some merino wool versions. I know there are plenty of you wondering why I would even bother covering such a subject but in my experience boots don’t stay waterproof for long so waterproof socks are the way forward!

Waterproofs

Too big a subject to discuss in detail as there is something to suit every price range but in brief what do I look for? Good customer service if its expensive – I can say that so far we’ve had great customer service from Musto and that would currently influence my choice. lets hope the good customer service continues. Perhaps others can feed back on other brands?

Waterproof Salopettes

These are a must – the extra layer is well worth while and I wear mine right from the beginning of the day when the boat still has condensation on. A pocket on the leg is a huge plus for me (very jealous I noticed Dom’s have two pockets whereas mine only has one). It is worth going for those with adjustments at the waist and shoulder as well as reinforced knees. Also look for salopettes with a zip up the front as this allows you to adjust the layers more easily. For the females I strongly suggest buying female fit salopettes – not only will they be more comfortable but you will actually be able to step across jockey seats and onto pontoons without the crotch of the trousers being around your knees! Some ladies swear by ‘dropseat’ trousers but can’t say I tried them!

Waterproof Jackets

Fleece lined pockets and collar (ideally removable -not seen this on recent jackets but my ancient jacket from the late 80s has a removable collar. This which makes it easy for washing the salt off). Also want sleeves that tighten to avoid water rushing down your arm when you pick up the mooring buoy! My next jacket will probably be a smock version as I find the long jackets do restrict movement on open powerboats.

Buff / Neckerchief

Whatever suits but on a rainy or sea spray day nothing beats a lightweight buff for stopping the rain running down your neck. I must have more than 10 now so there is always a dry one to hand!

Gloves

Now this is where I am in need of advice. Over the years I have spend a fortune on gloves but still not come up with a sensible solution. My preferred choice at the moment is a pair of neoprene sailing clothes – yes they get wet but at least fingers are warm. I have yet to come across a pair of waterproof gloves that do indeed stay waterproof. Been sadly disappointed at many an expensive purchase. If you have any solutions please let me know!

Hats

Too many to choose from but don’t forget one. Personally although I look daft, on a sunny winters day I like a woolley hat with a peak on it to keep the sun out of my eyes. On very wet days I’ll wear a waterproof hat to keep my had dry and warm, current favourite is a Sealskin one. Don’t forget to ask for one of our amazing orange beanie hats if you haven’t already acquired one from us!

Layering

Layers honestly work. thick layers make it hard to move around the boat but lots of think technical layers do make boating a lot easier and there is now a wide range to choose from. Long sleeve t-shirts are a must in the winter!

After all this clothing don’t forget to use a suitable lifejacket!

I hope this little blog helps and please do comment on your findings. There is so much choice that we could spend a fortune trialling items unless we share the knowledge. Warm and dry boaters are happy boaters. Don’t forget whilst you are buying these lovely items for yourself to consider what options your crew have!

Supplies can be found from all our local Chandlers (addresses here https://dorsetmarinetraining.co.uk/student-page/ ) as well as online.

 

#musto #maindeck #sealskin #nauticalia


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Prop Guards

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Link to guidance from the RYA.

Twice in the last week people have asked me for information on prop guards. I thought perhaps it is time to put a quick post up directing people to the guidance available from the RYA.  The RYA are “the national body for dinghy, yacht and motor cruising, all forms of sail racing, RIBs and sports boats, windsurfing and personal watercraft and a leading representative for inland waterways cruising.”

What is a prop guard? These are plastic or metal guards that you place around the propeller on an engine.  There are a variety of manufacturers and types. They are particularly in use by organisations using boats that will be around people in the water.  In that instance they’re usually put in place to protect anyone in the water from a strike from the propeller. However they can also protect the propeller from striking an object such as a rock or the seabed.

On the face of it they would seem an amazing idea. It is hard to see why we don’t automatically have them in use on all boats.  However, there are a few issues to consider and as such the RYA have issued guidance which allows individuals to assess their own situation.

The link to the guidance is here – https://www.rya.org.uk/knowledge-advice/safe-boating/look-after-yourself/equipment-for-uk-pleasure-vessels/Pages/prop-guards.aspx


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The Boat Club, Sandbanks

What we’ve been doing

2019 has seen us teaming up with ‘The Boat Club’ at Parkstone Bay Marina, we’re giving boat club members a regular monthly update on all the various things that make up their boating experiences, from navigation to managing the boat and venturing further afield.

For Dorset Marine Training,

This relationship allows us to introduce our students to the advantage of Club membership boating.  Without being too precise, the costs of a years membership at the Boat Club can be the same as simply paying for a berth for your own boat for that same year.  If your plan is to head out 20 times in a year, you”l probably make it 10-15 (if we’re honest and the weather fits around your spare time).   With a boat of your own, to have to come down, fuel your boat, clean it, realise that something rather important has broken.  Start scratching your head, send everyone off to the cafe whilst the problem is rectified, only to realise it’s getting late and no boating today after all……     All of a sudden the attraction of a ‘managed’ boat club becomes immense.

Chris and the team at the boat club provide-

A thoroughly pleasant environment and ethos to encourage you to be able to enjoy hassle free boating on a variety of different craft throughout the harbour and Poole Bay area.  For those who want to go further afield, Dorset Marine Training are offering support training through our instructors who love to adventure around that next corner.   We can produce some plans to make the longer journeys enjoyable and manageable, using a variety of techniques to get home safely.

Once someone has become a member, we can step onboard to train in more proficient journey planning.  Giving people confidence alone or certification to a higher level.

This week:

 

Sarah has been getting involved with some practical training, even helping out with some of the ‘Powerboat Level 2’ courses on the Boat Club’s boats.  Dom has created evening training refresher packages which saw the members enjoying a visualisation of exactly how a lifejacket worked last night.  We dressed the members in safety kit and set it all off.  With some snacks and  beer, it was a great environment.

 


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New year’s resolutions – New VHF DSC handheld radio kit.

It’s easy to make a ‘New Year’s Resolution’.

Something you want to do, think you ought to do, even promise to do….. something that will be good and hopefully change you (in a good way)…..   We have a ‘new year’s resolution’ to improve the training facilities that we offer each year. The best way to do that is to research it, plan it, then do it.

Yesterday we received our new Handheld ‘Icom m93 DSC’ digital training radios.  These comprised two demonstration units for the classroom and a fully functioning unit for the boats.  As technology has changed, the offering to us as leisure and commercial boaters has improved.  We wanted  to give students equipment that is for sale currently.  kit that demonstrates the best in current technology.  Kit that we believe to be the best on the market.

We’ve always used ICOM radios, because they feel great and they work well.  The technology is up to date and well researched and the customer support is unparalled.  Whether I’m chatting with ‘Virgil’ in tech support or ‘Ian’ in marketing, they both treat me like a valued customer.  Never like the random, gadget obsessed, attention deficit boater than I may appear to be.

A week ago, we ran various polls across our social media channels to find out what sort of VHF radio equipment people were using.  This enabled us to quickly see that our audiences are using Digital handheld units to compliment the fixed VHF radios on board their boats

We purchased the M93 DSC radios knowing that we would be supported by ICOM and that they would perform adequately in both Classroom and water based environments. There are a number of VHF courses taking place over the next two months.  We will be testing the units out at sea.  In a couple of weeks I hope to give a report on, hopefully, how well the M93 is fitting in.