Handy Hints for teaching the Practical Powerboat sessions:

A couple of important things that will help you teach your students:


ALWAYS keep one hand on the throttle & one hand on the steering wheel/tiller


STEER then use GEAR



Before excecuting any powerboat manouevre, consider the following (P.A.M.E.) :-


Plan - Consider how you are going to complete the manouvre taking into account any hazards, the wind, tide & where you want to end up. Prepare the boat & brief the crew accordingly.


Approach - Consider your angle of approach, speed & any hazards according to the wind direction & strength and tide direction & strength.


Manouevre - Excecute the manouevre i.e. Coming alongside, Man overboard, Picking up a mooring etc


Escape - Always have an escape route! If things don't go according to your plan then you MUST have a way to rectify the situation; whether it be to manoeuvre into a different area, drift away from an object or stop the exercise completely - if you follow the 'Plan-Approach-Manouevre-Escape' method then there should never be a reason for an evasive reaction.

Engine Starting Procedures:

K.N.I.G.H.T.S. A useful acronym to help you and your students remember the process:

K - Killcord (attached around the leg, above the knee)

N - Neutral (in Neutral before starting)

I - Ignition 

G - Gears (does the engine engage in forward & reverse)

H - Hot 

T - Tell-tale (is the tell-tale running? - the water will be hot/warm when the engine has been running a while)

S - Steering (turn the wheel lock to lock to check for any restrictions/issues) 

Teaching 8-11 year olds - Dual Killcords

There's no need to install a dual kill cord set up to your boat unless you run regular youth training and feel it is of benefit - you can set up a dual kill cord simply by using two kill cords.. see photo to the right for Mercury and Mariner Engines, and exert from RYA Wavelength below for Yamaha, Evinrude etc engines:



Worth also checking the integrity of any kill cord.. those with a thread core tend to be best.. 

Teaching Man Overboard:

Regardless of whether you are teaching the 'approach from downwind' or 'Approach from upwind' method there are a few key teaching points to remember:-


- Introduce contacting the emergency services early - much of the time this subject is loosely brushed over but it is essential and therefore should be covered in significant detail. The most important part being WHEN you contact the emergency services - if you are operating coastally it is essential to call in a MAYDAY as soon as you realise you have an MOB situation, it is better to then contact the Coastguard to cancel the MAYDAY than to wait until you have retrieved the MOB with precious and possible lifesaving time lost in the process. In addition, dependant on the number of people onboard the craft, if you are the one actively taking part in the person recovery process or if you are needed to give first aid how are you going to find the time to then make a MAYDAY call, inbetween rescue breaths? Fairly unlikely... 


- In previous years we always taught our students to immediately 'turn towards the MOB' to make sure the prop is as far away from them as possible. This originated from large ships where if someone fell there was significant time for this procedure to impact the MOB - with smaller powerboats this is fairly pointless as by the time you realise you have an MOB they are usually a fair distance behind you. It is therefore stated that there is no need to teach this in the procedure. 


- Which side to recover your MOB? - it is fairly standard practice to pick up your MOB on the opposite side to the controls (throttle) but do you know the reason why? The thought behind this is that if for any reason the engine is not turned off at the moment of contact that either the throttle may be knocked into gear by crew moving around the boat (a particular issue on those throttles that do not have a neutral lock) also because if the MOB is concious they will be grappling for anything to hold onto to aid them in getting back onboard. This could not only cause a risk of engaging gear but also of damaing the controls. Lastly, the advantage of getting your students to pick up on the opposite side to the controls is because the helm will be required to physically move away from the console to assist in the recovery of the MOB - by doing this if in the 'heat of the moment' they have forgotton to turn the engine off their movement away from the controls will pull the killcord out thus stopping the engine. Primarily we will always teach our students to turn the engine off through use of the key or pulling the killcord but we must also be aware that we need a secondary back up as a 'real' MOB situation is extremely stressful and it is unlikely they will remember every step of the procedure so by having as many 'back up' plans as possible will always help!


Update Feb 2013:- ALL RYA instructors must now include information on Cold Water shock risks to their courses

MOB Recovery Techniques

Corkscrew recovery

With the MOB facing the boat with hands over head, cross your forearms and using a hand to wrist grip lift and twist the MOB up and onto the gunwhale of the boat. 

Feet first

Making sure the lifejacket is inflated, float your MOB onto his back, lift his feet over the side of the boat, pull them forward so the back of the knees are butted against the side of the vessel, straddle the lower legs, bend forward, grasp the upper arm of your MOB and roll the MOB forward until they are in a sitting position on the side of the vessel. 

How much do you know about engines?

Engine checks in event of a breakdown: