Question from a newb!

Discussion in 'Sport Cruisers' started by rh320, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. rh320

    rh320 Member

    Mar 2, 2018
    I recently closed on a 2005 320. I have been boating my entire life but have only owned smaller boats so this is my first cruiser. I will be hiring a captain for a day to show me the ropes but I just want to get started on the learning now!

    So, I have a few questions:

    1. What is the process that you go through once you arrive at your slip?
    a. What would the process be if you are planning on hanging out on the boat for a while?
    b. What would the process be if you are planning on departing the slip immediately?
    2. What is the process that you go through in getting ready to depart from the slip for the day/weekend?
    3. What is the process that you go through once you get back into the slip?
    a. What would the process be if you are planning on staying with the boat?
    b. What would the process be if you are planning on leaving the boat?
    Curtis likes this.
  2. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    Until you get used to all the boat's systems, its helpful to have a "pre-flight" checklist handy for the common scenarios you mentioned. Most of these checklists will center around inspections of the various systems. For example. before starting the engines;

    - lift the hatch and give it a "sniff" test.
    - Turn on bilge blowers for 4 minutes.
    - visually inspect bilge for water, oil, gas, etc.
    - start engines and check oil pressures, fuel level, engine temp (once warmed up), etc.

    This is just an example, and isn't intended to be your list. You'll develop that on your own. Here's a good article on the subject
  3. Steve S

    Steve S Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 5, 2007
    Northern IL.
    2000 400 Sedan Bridge with twin CAT 3116's

    2000 340 Sundancer - SOLD!
    210 Monaco 1987 - SOLD!
    Twin Caterpillar 3116's 350 HP straight drives
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
    rh320 and Gofirstclass like this.
  4. Carpediem44DB

    Carpediem44DB Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2015
    Sanfransico Bay area
    Recently sold and currently buying a 2000 Carver 506
    2006 44 DB Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSC 8.3 500 HD
    Don’t over think it, first of all. If you are deliberate and reasonably careful you don’t need specific processes. The big thing is to not be in a rush when departing. It’s all about enjoying the experience when ever you spend time on the boat. Everyone has their own rituals that work for them but they developed them through experience.
    Just don’t forget to unplug your shore line!
    Enjoy your new to you boat and be safe
    Curtis and Steve S like this.
  5. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    Kudos to you for applying common sense.
    Cruisers are a whole different animal than what you’re used to. Much bigger with a lot more systems.
    Hiring a Captain is a smart move since you seem to be new to bigger boats and you’re starting out with a bigger cruising type boat than most start out with.
    You’d be surprised at how many write the checks, get the keys, and take off with little or no knowledge. If you have a significant other or older kids that will be going out with you a lot, then have them take the same boater safety course that you took.
    Practice the boat handling and safety tips the Captain gives you by taking the boat out a lot by yourself when it’s quiet.
    Early weekday mornings and weekday evenings are usually the quietest times in most marinas. If you have a friend who knows how to handle your boat that is willing to come along to give you pointers and confidence it would be even better.
    I’ve been boating for decades but when I moved to a 410 from a 300 last year it was a different animal. I’m no hero, and I remain very humble about my skill level so I went out several early weekday mornings by myself before I went out at busier times or started inviting guests.
    It not only helped my handling but gave me time to develop my departure and return routines so they became second nature.
    Once you get the hang of it you’ll probably find you handle this boat even better than you handled your small boats.
    The list of do’s and dont’s for leaving and returning to the dock can be extensive and hard to compile completely here.
    Here are a few General things to add, I’m sure others will add more.
    Once you’re finished with the Captain, it would also be smart to make friends with your dock neighbors and be honest with them about your inexperience.
    Experienced boaters tend to be very helpful and are usually more than willing to share their knowledge. Watch them, and offer to help, as they go through their departure and return routines and ask questions.
    I’m always the first one in my boat and the last one off of it when we use it.
    Learning how to properly tie the boat up is a must. Keep adjusting your lines until you get them right and it will become second nature. I’ve seen boats suffer some damage because they weren’t tied up correctly.
    I always appreciate a knowledgeable guest or family member grabbing a line, but ultimately I’m the Captain and once all is settled I double check my lines when I come back in or arrive at a dock other than my own.
    Passengers who aren’t boaters are politely asked to just sit down and stay out of they way when leaving or returning to the dock or maneuvering in close quarters.
    When casting off, make sure nobody unties a line unless, and until, you ask them too.
    Most people fix their lines at their home dock and leave them in place throughout the season. They keep a set of “travel lines” on the boat for use at other docks. Six lines will snug my boat in any transient dock I go to so I carry 8 onboard.
    I don’t use the dockside water hookup on my boats opting instead to keep running water through the tank to keep it fresher. But if you use it, the hose should be one of the first things you disconnect before pulling out and among the last when you come back. Doing this yourself is always a good idea.
    I keep a hose aboard to fill the tank and a nozzle to use with it to rinse the boat at transient docks. My regular hose and nozzle stays at my dock.
    I shut all electric stuff off, then shut all breakers, then shut main breaker on panel in boat before I disconnect shorepower cords from boat. When I return I reverse the procedure after the boat is securely tied up.
    I leave my home cords at my dock because I have them like I want them there and I carry travel cords on the boat.
    Make sure you have any adapters and splitters you may need at transient docks too. Not all places have the same electric outlets to plug in to. Make sure you find out what a marina uses before you go there.
    I never let anyone disconnect or reconnect my electric. If I do it myself I know it’s done correctly and I won’t be pulling away from the dock with an electric cord still plugged in. I’ve seen that happen more than once. Seen it happen with water hoses too.
    I try to give my boat a nice wash when I get back to the dock once everyone and all their stuff gets off. If I’m in a rush I hose it off thoroughly and either come back later that evening or early the next day to give it a full bath.
    Boats are all about maintenance, you can learn a lot from friendly neighbors about that too.
    A well maintained boat will give you many more enjoyable days on the water than a poorly maintained one will.
    Lastly, and this should go without saying but I add it because it’s one of the mistakes I see new boaters make most often. Especially now that you’ve got a boat you can have a full bar on:
    Drinking and boat handling don’t usually mix well. You’ve got a great boat to enjoy a bunch of cocktails on and you should absolutely do it. But you should do it when tied to the dock and have the time to get some sleep and a shower in that beautiful cabin afterwards. Also, your guests should absolutely enjoy a few cocktails while out on your boat but make sure you ask them to sit out of the way when you are docking. I’ve seen drunk passengers fall in the water or stick a limb between a boat and piling more than once over the years and it was never pretty.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
    Dave Anton, joeyleggz, Curtis and 3 others like this.
  6. rh320

    rh320 Member

    Mar 2, 2018
    Thanks for the responses! I really appreciate it.
  7. Blueone

    Blueone Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2007
    Lake Erie, Ohio
    2004 420 Sundancer
    Cummins 6CTA 450's
    WOW... That was a long response. ...but it makes sense.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  8. rh320

    rh320 Member

    Mar 2, 2018
    Thanks for the response! It was a good read; it was helpful and informative as well.
  9. Boatguy49036

    Boatguy49036 Active Member

    Nov 4, 2017
    Marblehead , OH
    390 Sundancer 2004
    Garmin 7612 XSV
    8.1 Horizons
    8.1 Mercruiser
  10. Curtis

    Curtis Member

    Feb 6, 2013
    San Antonio, Texas
    320 Sundancer 2004
    Previous 280 Sundancer
    Twin 8.1 (496 Mags) w Bravo III drives
    I recently closed on a 2004 Sea RY 320 and have read all the comments on this thread. My recommendation to you, because it works for me, is to have your wife read all these comments and become proficient at them. My wife is the best first mate ever. She takes care of AC power, dock lines, passengers, etc... all I have to worry about is the boat and its systems. Having an awesome partner takes so much stress off my shoulders.
    potis likes this.
  11. Irie308

    Irie308 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    May 28, 2013
    2004 420 Sedan Bridge, GHS Hydraulic Lift
    Dual Raymarine E120W
    AB Mares 10 VSX with 30 hp Tohatsu
    Cummins 450C 8.3 L Turbocharged
    Plus one on this advice and all the rest above. When we hired a captain to show us the ropes on our new to us 320 It was my wife and I and he showed her the ropes as much as he showed me. Though my wife generally doesn't pilot the vessel she is fully aware of our departure and return procedures as well as what to do while underway. I find i'm actually at a disadvantage when i take friends out without her.

    Secondly make sure you locate the hidden storage compartment in the rear berth! Took me 2 seasons to find it.
    Curtis likes this.
  12. rh320

    rh320 Member

    Mar 2, 2018
    Thats great. I imagine that does take a lot of stress off you! I am only 29 and single so I guess I need to put finding a quality first mate high up on the list!
    Curtis likes this.
  13. rh320

    rh320 Member

    Mar 2, 2018
    I will be hiring a captain and even take a few courses at the Annapolis Schoo of Seamanship. I am single but I have a lot of friends who will be out with me all the time and willing to help. They are familiar with boating since Ive always had a boat. All my boats were smaller open ones that were left hi/dri which is why I am on this forum and will be hiring a captain and taking some classes with this new style of boating that the 320 brings.

    I was not aware of any storage compartments in the rear berth. Where is this one?? I have spent very little time on her so far.
    Curtis likes this.
  14. Irie308

    Irie308 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    May 28, 2013
    2004 420 Sedan Bridge, GHS Hydraulic Lift
    Dual Raymarine E120W
    AB Mares 10 VSX with 30 hp Tohatsu
    Cummins 450C 8.3 L Turbocharged
    Just below the cabinets in the rear berth the back cushion folds down.
    rh320 likes this.
  15. M Prod

    M Prod Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2017
    North Vancouver, BC
    2005 Sundancer 340
    Zodiac Cadet w/FCT console Yamaha F20
    Kohler 5KW Genny
    8.1 Horizons /V Drives
    29 with a 320DA won't be single long. :cool:
    Curtis, JVM225 and Alegria like this.
  16. Alegria

    Alegria Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Lancaster,PA Boat: -Sue Creek, MD
    2000 410 DA
    3126 CAT

    I think you have the right plan together to ease into your new boat. The bay is a wonderful place to overnight and your new boat opens up a whole new world of cruising!

    As JVM stated it's good to have a transient set of lines that you take with you. It should include 2 bow, 2 stern, and 2 spring lines. You need to use a similar set for your home dock and you really need the spring line, to keep you centered in the slip. My swim platform learned the hard way on our 330 about spring lines.

    I think you might only need one or two sessions with a captain since you have operated smaller boats before. We only had one session when we moved up to our 330. Once you get familiar with twin inboards it translates to all inboards, only difference is torque and response timing. The hardest thing to learn was all the systems a cruiser has as well as v-drives and inboards, we came from an I/O 280.

    Good Luck and you can always ask questions on the board! We have all been there.
    Curtis likes this.
  17. joeyleggz

    joeyleggz Active Member

    Jan 15, 2013
    long island
    current boat: 1997 sea ray 330 express cruiser
    twin 454's efi

    Very well said !!
  18. BillK2632

    BillK2632 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 25, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    1999 185 Bowrider,
    Mercruiser 4.3, Alpha I
    I think you are on the right track - having a plan/checklist is a good idea. I had one for my 290, it was really in my head, but the same order and routine everytime we went out. I even have the same on my little 185. Everytime I let someone help or deviate from my routine something get's missed - batteries left on, something. And regarding guests helping, up to you, but no one should be offended if you decline their offer to help. I have a friend with a sailboat - I am capable of handling his sailboat on my own if I wanted to (yeah I did some sailing in the past - sorry) but I respect it is his boat and I don't mess with anything unless he asks me too - except the beer!
    JVM225 likes this.
  19. trflgrl

    trflgrl Active Member

    Jun 23, 2014
    Middle Tennessee
    1989 Sundancer 300
    Twin 350 Merc/Alpha 1 Gen 1; Quicksilver 4.0 gen
    I agree with the key point of putting your checklist in writing and using it that way until you can perform it in your sleep, with special emphasis on electrical and water. Not unhooking/unhooking improperly can cause issues, as can not reconnecting/reconnecting properly. Not flipping the right breaker on the boat or on the dock when you leave can mean batteries dying and worse. I don't keep dock water connected while slipped, whether on the boat or away--a couple of neighbors have had lines/seals fail and their boats fill with water faster than the bilge pumps could clear it. (Saved by properly-tied lines, though--thank goodness!)

    If you're not in a rush, take time to review the checklist thoroughly.
    If you're in a rush, take even more time to review the checklist thoroughly.
    Always double check important things if someone else has done them, whether it's electrical, water, securing lines, etc. (I can chill if someone doesn't stow PFDs, but not if they leave slack in a line and the boat's gonna knock around in the slip.)

    If it hasn't been part of your process, consider adding a passenger safety briefing to your departure checklist; I do this even with people who have been out with me. I show them where PFDs and throwables are and we pull out what we need; show them where fire extinguishers are; explain restrictions and demonstrate how to use the head; explain my expectations of them as guests ("please be quiet/stay seated while docking" or "follow instructions exactly" or whatever); demonstrate some emergency things like how to push off a boat or piling with flat hands; etc. In most cases, guests don't have to help, but I do prepare them in case an all hands on deck situation arises; you never know when you might have to draft someone into service.

    You'll be in great shape with or without a long term partner, but FWIW, I also find boating much more relaxing when I have at least one somewhat experienced person on board, whether it's just the two of us or lots of folks, so I've made a point of figuring out who among my social connections is willing to do the work that goes with the fun.
    First Mate is my honey--we're fairly well matched at everything except docking stern in. He's a little smoother at it than I am, but both of us can do it. (He declines to take any kind of formal courses, however, so I'm ahead of him in rules of the water knowledge, and I've promised myself there will come a day when I can outmaneuver him, too!)
    Second Mates are my two BFFs. They don't pilot yet, but they're becoming proficient at throwing and securing lines and other tasks, as well as ensuring other passengers stay in their fully seated, upright, and locked positions during any major maneuvers. They'll get some piloting experience this season so they can get us back to the marina in case I'm unable.
    One BFF's son is making his way up the hierarchy, too, though he didn't quite realize it. His first "boating" adventure was on my WaveRunner at age 2 1/2; he'll be 13 next month. In January I took him to the boater safety course and he earned his certificate....and connected all the dots from 10 seasons of me being on his butt. His attitude has evolved from a grumpy "Why is Aunt B always telling me what to do," to the last couple of summers' quicker "Yes, ma'am" when I ask him to get out of the water while a boat is rafting up or to hold a line until I can tie it, to this year's "I aced my exam--when do I get to drive?"
    Curtis likes this.
  20. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    Sometimes I read threads like this and wonder how the average boat owner survives a weekend of boating without six checklists, three ditch bags, a handful of liability waivers and a 30 minute training video noted (on a checklist) as required viewing for all new passengers.

    I'm not trying to suggest you don't take boating safety seriously. But man....I think sometimes we tend to go overboard on this (no pun).

    My Tenants of Safe Boating - 1.) have enough PFD's for everyone, tell everyone where they are and 2.) Only go as fast as you're willing to run into something when you're around the docks.

    The rest of it I think you'll figure out if you're an average human. My opinion only of course. And you know what they say about opinions...
    Curtis likes this.

Share This Page

Show Sidebar