So you have been driving boats your entire life but you have never driven a deck boat and you are trying to see if it is as easy as people make them out to be…or maybe you have never driven any boat before but you want deck boats to be the first. Whatever your reason is, we have got you covered.
If you have been wondering how to drive a deck boat, then let’s get started!
How to Drive a Deck Boat in 10 Simple Steps
- Figure out what kind of engine you have: if your deck boat is powered by gas and has an engine compartment, you must first fun the exhaust fan. The exhaust fan is sometimes called a “blower” by some. This is how you start the engine but before that, as a safety precaution, please check to make sure there are not any build up fumes in the compartment.
- Put the key in the ignition: a very simple step but also the most exciting one in our opinion. Do you remember the first time you drove? That first purr of the car engine? Well, this is the same, thrilling feeling. Like cars, some boats are modern enough to have a push to start button. While pushing a button to start your car is not as exacting as putting a key into the ignition, it is still pretty cool nonetheless.
- Most boats will have a “kill switch” if yours does, then clip the lanyard onto the belt loop of a life jacket ring.
- Do a quick check and make sure that all of your belongings are on your boat.
- Once your engine is running and you have double-checked to make sure nothing (or if you are taking a passenger, no one) is behind then it is time to remove all the lines securing the boat to the dock.
- Move forward (or reverse back, depending on if you need to back out) by pushing the throttle handle forward (or if you are reversing, pull it back) gently until you feel it shift into gear.
- When your deck boat begins to move, you will want to spin the wheel just the way you would turn a car steering wheel.
- Move the throttle as appropriate to reach your desired speed. We have to note that while it may be tempting to go super fast your first time, do keep in mind that you are a new driver. So keep your cool and take it slow. The majority of people would do the opposite, as they would move too slowly because they are scared. However there are a few daredevils scattered here and there and if you are one of those people, we would advise to just take it slow…at least for the first few hours.
- Trim the boat as appropriate for the conditions.
- When you want to slow down either to make a turn or park, gently pull the throttle back towards the neutral position.
- Advance the throttle as appropriate to reach the desired speed.
- Trim (adjust running attitude) the boat as appropriate for the conditions.
- When you want to slow down, gently pull the throttle back towards the neutral position.
Are You a Visual Learner?
That’s great because most people are. If reading all the steps above is not helpful to you, then we would suggest watching some videos. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Boating for Beginners
- Bayliner – How to Drive and Dock a Boat
- Beginner’s Guide to Driving a Small Boat
What is a Deck Boat?
Okay, if you clicked on this article then you know what a deck boat is. But how well do you know?
If you want to learn how to drive a deck boat just for fun then we understand that but a little information before we dive into the tips and tricks will not hurt.
If you guessed that deck boats get their names because of the design of their decks, then you are one hundred percent right.
Deck boats are boats that were built to have an expanded bow section to maximize the seating and deck area. Their structural design calls for an open floor plan which means deck boats are great for cruising around all day in the water.
They are more spacious than some other boats which means you will not have to fight for legroom. This is especially important if you are a taller individual.
Deck boats can also be taken out at night as well but be sure to have some sort of light with you. That way, in case anything does happen and you call for help, it would make it easier for the other party to spot you.
Here is how Pure Florida’s website, an online boating website, describes deck boats, “A deck boat is designed with maximum open space and speed for recreational water sports, fishing, and entertaining. It’s innovative engineering from bow to stern, provides a versatile platform for the ultimate boating experience. Packed with amenities, the deck boat is the answer for the active boater.”
How Much Does a Deck Boat Cost?
As with all boats, deck boats are not cheap. The construction of a boat is quite similar to that of a boat but many people are surprised that some boats cost just as much, if not more than cars.
So how much does a deck boat cost?
Now, this is an important question. Does it matter how great deck boats if their price repels you? Deck boats range from $30,000.000 to $80,000.00. However, do keep in mind that older models or used deck boats will be cheaper. Yet the opposite is also true, newer models or limited edition models will cost you more than $80,000.00.
This gives you quite a bit of legroom in the middle but yes, we understand that is still quite a chunk of change. As we had mentioned earlier, owning a boat is no small feat and that includes the hefty price tag.
If you are thinking to yourself, “that is the same price or more of a car” then you are one hundred percent right. So unless you plan on using your pontoon boat or deck boat often, you might want to consider just renting them.
The same way you would not spend $50,000.00 on a car you would only drive once a month, the same logic applies here. Unless of course, you have the Monterey means to, then we do not see why not!
This is why we strongly suggest you purchase your deck boat or pontoon boat during the off-season or a boat convention for special discounts and promotions.
If all else fails, there is always the used boat market. The majority of these websites will not list a boat for sale if it is not in good condition. Another great aspect and advantage of buying your boat online are being able to see reviews from many customers.
If you are looking for in-person sales, then check out the shops around the river and lake. They might have some older models for sale and they might run a special sale or promotion.
Even if they do not, the owner and workers can also provide you with useful information about deck boats. So overall, there is no lose-lose situation.
In Conclusion | Are You Ready to Drive a Deck Boat?
To be quite honest, if you can drive a car then you can drive a deck boat. It is that simple, some would say that driving a boat is even easier than driving a car. We will let you be the judge of that one though.
As always, please be safe while learning and always have someone who knows how to drive a boat next to you so he or she can take control of the wheel in case anything happens.
You will do great and remember that practice makes perfect!