Author Archives: Dominic Coleman

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Gift Vouchers – Christmas 2019

Our fab new gift vouchers have arrived and are ready to be sent out for all your Christmas or birthday present needs.  Contact us now to chat about options


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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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Yachtmaster Theory Course

We’re running a YM Theory Course starting 18th Nov for 6 days. Suitable for those that are looking to head further afield in their leisure boats or who are looking to work on the water taking an Advanced Powerboat Course or Yachtmaster Practical qualification. Contact us now to book.


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RYA Powerboat L2 Courses in Nov. 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


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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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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.


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What should I do now I’ve completed my RYA Powerboat Level 2 Course?

What next after a Powerboat Level 2 Course?

Having just had one of our busiest months for Level 2 Powerboat Courses, we felt it was time to talk about the next steps.  We sincerely hope that if you undertook the course with us that you had a great time. We hope you want to carry on your boating.  The journey will now be different for each person but the main priorities:

1. Getting afloat.  Is it practical for you to get out and start practising afloat now or within the next few weeks?
2. Stuck on Shore. Think back over your course and consider whether there are any aspects of the theory side you’d like to look at in more detail and develop further.

 

Getting afloat

If you have the opportunity to get afloat, it really is important to get out there and start practising.  Use a boat whilst the knowledge is fresh and the confidence high.  You passed the course, you have the ability to get out there so seize the chance.  Think back to day one of your course – what was one of the first things you talked about?   Conditions and Planning??

First of all make sure the boat you plan to use is ready. Has it been serviced, is the trailer road ready, is all the kit on board?   Have you organised all the personal kit like waterproofs and lifejackets, don’t forget navigation charts?  Have you thought about where to launch or if on a mooring whether there are limited times due to tides or locks.  Plan carefully, it will make your first trip not only safer, but also more enjoyable. 

If you need to borrow a boat look into hire possibilities – a really good start if you’re local is with our friends at Poole Boat Hire.  They are limited to the harbour but that still provides plenty of space to explore. Its an hour and a half each way to Wareham for example!  If you want to borrow further afield or hire a RIB then contact us for advice.  The bonus of hiring is there should be back up in case of breakdown. If its your own boat perhaps consider SeaStart membership. 

Check and check again:

Check local information and organise a plan for your trip. Don’t forget insurance and harbour dues if its your own boat! Why not refresh your mind with a read through of your Start Powerboating Book? Have a look at the Student Page on our website for useful resources.   If you’re a member of a sailing club or similar why not ask if you can get afloat on the safety boat?  great idea to take along an experienced helm as crew?

Plan the day:

Next think about the actual day. Who is going with you – are they trained, do they need a briefing or any equipment providing?  Consider on your first trip who is going with you.  If you’ve a friend or family member who is unsure of boating perhaps delay their attendance until a  later trip when you’ve a little more experience. Instead take along a couple of people who have boating experience or similar.  Plan just a short trip the first time – build up as your experience progresses.  

Then check the conditions, forecasts and tides. If it seems a bit ‘iffy’ listen to your instincts and delay for a nice day, however disappointing that might be.  Don’t forget to check several sources of info and interpret the information you’ve given.    Ask around for local information if needed.  Don’t forget to leave a shore side contact and set up RYA SafeTrx 

If you do decide to go out, when you hop on board double check the boat.  Remember to set SafeTrx running & think about the prestart checks and engines checks. Don’t forget your killcord and before releasing the lines just think about wind and tide as you learnt on your course.  Enjoy and stay safe!

 

Stuck on shore – further learning & course options

If you are unable to get afloat immediately why not have a read of your coursebook Start Powerboating and reflect on the parts of your course you’d like to develop further.  The usual next steps for study include: VHF Marine Radio Course, Navigation Training or studying books such as the Powerboat Handbook to understand and refine your practical skills.

 

VHF 

Don’t forget if you’re on coastal waters we advise you carry a VHF whether it’s a portable, handheld or a fixed radio set.  To operate the VHF you are required to have an ‘Authority to Operate’.  (In an emergency please just use the set!).   This qualification can be undertaken as either a one day classroom course or you can study online and then arrange a convenient time for a short assessment with us.  Initially we find some reluctance to take the radio course. However, we have yet to find a student who hasn’t enjoyed and taken away a lot from the course.  It’s underrated and our most commonly received feedback is ‘didn’t expect to enjoy this but had a great day and learnt lots!’ 

What to expect from a VHF course:

We know its tough to sit in a classroom but we do our best to make the course as relaxed and informal as possible. In order to keep you engaged we use lots of interactive learning  and have training radios to practice on.  We practice Mayday & PanPan calls along with which channels to use, how to set up the radio to be able to hear clearly and we look at the fabulous DSC functions.  If you have any questions about your own radio we have a great contact at Icom who is fab at providing answers. 

There is a short assessment at the end of the day but please don’t let this put you off attending.  We teach in small groups, are happy to provide bespoke courses and if you want to delay the assessment for another day just let us know at time of booking.  Tell us what works for you.

 

RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship

When you attended your Level 2 Powerboat Course it was probably the first time you’d considered navigation and safety kit.  Within a two day course we only have time to introduce to information on passage planning and pilotage, buoys and collision regulations.  The Essential Navigation course is a fab short course that starts to develop the concepts further. It introduce a few new techniques.  It is usually taken online in your own time – there is no final ‘test’. Instead you complete exercises as you progress and on successful completion you receive an RYA Certificate. 

If you prefer, we can arrange to run these courses in the classroom over two days.   Whether its an online course or classroom course you choose, you will receive a study pack. This includes practice charts, exercises and a plotter/set of dividers like you used on your PB2 course.  It a brilliant base for those who later choose to go and study our RYA Dayskipper or Yachtmaster Theory Courses.

 

Summary

Don’t forget we also offer short Powerboat Refresher Sessions on the RIB or can offer bespoke training on either our boat or your own.  Just contact us to have a chat.

If after your Powerboat Level 2 (PB2) Course you decided to progress onto a different style of boat, perhaps a hard sided boat, a motorboat or small motor cruiser then think about some bespoke training or perhaps even look towards the Dayskipper Practical course if you’ve decide to creep into bigger boats.  Remember all boats handle differently and its important to be confident and safe afloat.

We hope the information here provides you with just a few ideas of how to make the most from your Powerboat Level 2 Course and progress your boating.  Please just give us a call with any questions. Whether it’s a simple reminder or you want to book further training we’re always happy to talk.  It is impossible to cover all the reminders from a two day course in just a short blog piece but hopefully this has given you a few reminders!  We love to hear your progress. Please drop us a line or join our social media channels to tell us your news.

 

Sarah & Dom
www.dorsetmarinetraining.co.uk
01202 901267
enquiries@dorsetmarinetraining.co.uk


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Who would notice if you don’t come home? we use SafeTrx!

I thought I’d update this entry on ‘Safetrx’, the app from the RYA that allows us to be tracked, but we’re out on the water to escape right???? .  Do we forget to leave details as to where we are going and when we plan to be back? What options there are to remedy this?  Most of my leisure boating is fairly local and for a while I think I became a bit too relaxed.  I assumed everything would be ok. I neglected to tell anyone I was heading out, assuming I would always be able to look after myself.  It’s a careful balance when we’re afloat, many of us head out on our boats to avoid technology, ringing phones and other life pressures.  Part of the appeal is the ability to run away and hide where no one can find us. But where does this leave us if something were to go wrong?

 

The image here shows a track of our school boat one night on an exercise that took it right round the back of the islands in the harbour, great experience for the students and well within the abilities and confidence of the instructor but still very dark and maybe into black spots for radio and communications, if the boat hadn’t come back on time, we’d know where it last was and when…..

 

 

CG66 – the ‘old’ scheme

Since I started teaching RYA Powerboat Level 2 and the VHF / SRC course, I have been vocal about the importance of the Voluntary Coastguard Safety Registration Scheme known as CG66.  You were able to register you craft details along with emergency contacts and even upload a picture of your boat, canoe etc.  That way people knew what they were searching for.  This scheme had great benefits – if you were genuinely missing the coastguard knew what they were looking for.  It enabled your family to make a call to say you were overdue even with little knowledge of boating & the coastguard already had your details.  Equally if your craft was found without you on the coastguard would start by calling you. This enabled them to see if it was a boat adrift from a mooring or were people missing. 

However, yesterday we received notification that no new registrations will now be accepted on the CG66 scheme – so what next?

SafeTrx – the ‘new’ scheme

For those who already have their boats registered on CG66, the scheme should continue to operate for the next two years.  However, it makes sense to move towards their new scheme which is open to everyone.  They have teamed up with the RYA to provide a scheme that not only offers registration but also options to log passage plans etc.  Its worth having a look at this link https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hm-coastguard-adopts-rya-safetrx-as-new-safety-id-scheme to understand what is happening. 

 

 

The new scheme is the RYA SafeTrx scheme and more details can be found here – RYA SafeTrx Scheme  In addition to registering your boat information, you can also use it for individual boating trips to notify emergency contacts if you’re overdue.  There is lots of other local information too with useful phone numbers and VHF channel numbers.  It also includes safety information with advice on navigation marks and weather information.

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget….

This scheme does not replace the need for other safety kit such as VHF radio, PLBs etc!!

If you’re new to boating or this information has made you think about training then please contact us.  We will happily discuss the most appropriate options for you.  One of our most popular courses is the RYA Powerboat Level 2 course.  This course covers safety equipment and passage planning as well as practical skills.

I downloaded the app yesterday and will let you know how I get on.  Anyone else already using it? What feedback do you have?