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  #1  
Old 03-28-2016, 10:07 AM
jtulius jtulius is offline
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Default How to drive in big water

I have done a lot of research on several different kind of boats here on WC. Everyone has been really helpful. The same comment seems to come up often. Essentially; "If you know how to drive in big water/waves then the boat will be fine".

I knew a professional Walleye angler that died on big water when his 21 foot Triton capsized. He was a very experienced angler. It just goes to show that it can happen to anyone in any kind of boat.

I have no intention of going out in the huge waves I see some of the professional walleye anglers go out in, however, I would like to know how to safely navigate if I get caught in a storm.

Can anyone share some advice on how to handle big water? Nothing is too basic, just trying to really have some ideas of how to get back to shore safely.

Thanks.

Last edited by jtulius; 03-28-2016 at 10:09 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-28-2016, 10:44 AM
repoman repoman is offline
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When I am headed into the wind I trim my motor up a bit to raise my bow a bit to cut the water over the bow. Pick a speed that will not pile the bow into the next wave.

If I have to travel perpendicular to the wind I point my bow into the wind and then adjust slightly towards the direction I want to go but keep the main brunt of the waves at the bow. I then slow the speed so the wind sort of tacks/pushes me in the right direction (sailing term).

If I am wrong, please some one correct me.
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  #3  
Old 03-28-2016, 11:39 AM
REW REW is offline
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JT,
A common reason for boats sinking is to either spear a wave - where the bow gets buried in a wave, or you pitch pole ,where water floods the boat from the stern.

So, if you are running in waves that are several times taller than your boat, you do not want to drive directly into or away from the waves. Either of these cases could easily swamp a boat.

Rather, you want to quarter the wave. So, if you are going into a wave , you do not point the nose of the boat into the wave, but rather you hit the wave at about 45 degrees. So you go 1/2 sideways up the front side of the waves, and then slide down the back side of the wave 1/2 sideways as well. This means that the boat will be doing huge rocking from side to side as you negotiate each wave - but you will be doing the driving through the waves safely without swamping the boat.

Some folks suggest that the motor be trimmed down so that the bow cuts the waves. That may be all right to a point, but if you have the nose trimmed down and then encounter a much larger rogue wave, the entire boat will get buried in the wave and you will sink.

I would rather trim up the boat so that the front 1/3rd of the boat takes the wave, splits the wave and deflects water to each side of the boat, - rather than having the wave come over your head.

I know that there have been more than one time when I was faced with huge waves for a run back to the cabin. In these cases, I figure that I take about double the distance to get back to the cabin. This is because I will hit the waves at about 45 degrees and stay on that course for about a mile or so. Then, I will make a cut back and come back at about 45 degrees for the next tack against the waves. This continues until one encounters waves that may be driven head on. Then, the course can straighten out and the boat driven straight back.

http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/heavy2.htm

http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/waves.htm

http://www.docksidereports.com/rough...amanship_1.htm

http://www.unitedmarine.net/blog/ind...in-rough-seas/

http://www.boatus.com/magazine/trail...vy-weather.asp
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  #4  
Old 03-28-2016, 11:39 AM
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Juls Juls is offline
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First of all, do not hide behind a windshield if you have one. Get up above it where you can "read the waves".

Keep your hand on the throttle at all times, and USE IT! That means, you will be on and off the throttle continuously..."driving the boat" through the waves.

If you simply "pick a speed", you're going to get into trouble, because not all the waves are going to be the same. Now, throw in a boat wake that turns that wave action into a "washing machine". If you're not reading the waves, and using the throttle for what it was designed to do, then you will get into trouble.

In following seas...keep the motor trimmed down, and "surf the waves"....power up the back side....slow down on top, so you can surf it, and let the wave set you down on the wave in front of you. If you run a following sea too fast, you run into the danger of putting the bow of the boat into the backside of a big wave, filling the boat with water from the front...and, then, the waves coming in behind you will fill your boat full of water from the back....then, you're in trouble....big time. Patience is the key to running in a following sea.

It takes practice, but it's not hard to do. Just keep your eyes on the waves and your hand on the throttle. That will give you the smoothest ride possible.
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Last edited by Juls; 03-28-2016 at 11:42 AM.
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  #5  
Old 03-28-2016, 11:58 AM
cmdworker cmdworker is offline
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Also, if feasible, the best option I like to use: find a place to hide, and wait. Obviously, that doesn't always work, either it's getting dark, or you check you phone and the Doppler shows that thunderstorm being about 20 miles long, or there is no place to hide. I have a great big water boat, but, if I can hide, that saves me from beating the snot out of it, myself, and my electronics.
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Old 03-28-2016, 11:59 AM
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Blackmacs Blackmacs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juls View Post
First of all, do not hide behind a windshield if you have one. Get up above it where you can "read the waves".

Keep your hand on the throttle at all times, and USE IT! That means, you will be on and off the throttle continuously..."driving the boat" through the waves.

If you simply "pick a speed", you're going to get into trouble, because not all the waves are going to be the same. Now, throw in a boat wake that turns that wave action into a "washing machine". If you're not reading the waves, and using the throttle for what it was designed to do, then you will get into trouble.

In following seas...keep the motor trimmed down, and "surf the waves"....power up the back side....slow down on top, so you can surf it, and let the wave set you down on the wave in front of you. If you run a following sea too fast, you run into the danger of putting the bow of the boat into the backside of a big wave, filling the boat with water from the front...and, then, the waves coming in behind you will fill your boat full of water from the back....then, you're in trouble....big time. Patience is the key to running in a following sea.

It takes practice, but it's not hard to do. Just keep your eyes on the waves and your hand on the throttle. That will give you the smoothest ride possible.
X2

Juls mentioned about picking up speed, you really need to keep aware of it. Some set ups make this more of an issue than others. You can be plowing through the waves one second and the next be on full plane skipping across, or going through, the waves. When I switched to a 4 blade prop it really helped to control the boat in rougher water compared to the 3 blade.

Wave Wackers or an equivalent, can help with keeping following waves from swamping you, especially in aluminum boats with flat transoms. In following seas the last thing you'd want to do is slow down abruptly. That's a sure way to, at a minimum, fill your splash well. Worse case is ending up testing your PFD's.
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Old 03-28-2016, 11:59 AM
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Juls Juls is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmdworker View Post
Also, if feasible, the best option I like to use: find a place to hide, and wait. Obviously, that doesn't always work, either it's getting dark, or you check you phone and the Doppler shows that thunderstorm being about 20 miles long, or there is no place to hide. I have a great big water boat, but, if I can hide, that saves me from beating the snot out of it, myself, and my electronics.
Best advice right there...
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  #8  
Old 03-28-2016, 12:20 PM
Scott C Scott C is online now
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If its that bad I stay home, or quarter the waves as suggested. But according to one guy on here if you have a tracker you can do 40 mph in 4 to 5 seas. lol
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Old 03-28-2016, 12:21 PM
hunterjoe hunterjoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juls View Post
Best advice right there...
Almost Juls.

Wear your life preserver.
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  #10  
Old 03-28-2016, 12:36 PM
azbohunter azbohunter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juls View Post
First of all, do not hide behind a windshield if you have one. Get up above it where you can "read the waves".

Keep your hand on the throttle at all times, and USE IT! That means, you will be on and off the throttle continuously..."driving the boat" through the waves.

If you simply "pick a speed", you're going to get into trouble, because not all the waves are going to be the same. Now, throw in a boat wake that turns that wave action into a "washing machine". If you're not reading the waves, and using the throttle for what it was designed to do, then you will get into trouble.

In following seas...keep the motor trimmed down, and "surf the waves"....power up the back side....slow down on top, so you can surf it, and let the wave set you down on the wave in front of you. If you run a following sea too fast, you run into the danger of putting the bow of the boat into the backside of a big wave, filling the boat with water from the front...and, then, the waves coming in behind you will fill your boat full of water from the back....then, you're in trouble....big time. Patience is the key to running in a following sea.

It takes practice, but it's not hard to do. Just keep your eyes on the waves and your hand on the throttle. That will give you the smoothest ride possible.
What she said!
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