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Old 05-23-2019, 08:38 AM   #1
TheDocIsIn
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Default Any suggestions for a lake newbie?

I have no boating experience but want to learn. I have my NH safe boating certificate. I was thinking of renting something on winnisquam to start, maybe it's a less intimidating lake? I eventually want to end up with something on winnipesaukee but I'm a little nervous after hearing crazy stories about boating on this lake and the fact that I have no experience.

Any suggestions for this newbie?
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:47 AM   #2
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Welcome -

There are MANY many threads relating to first time boating here in the Forum ….. I would suggest starting there.

If you have absolutely no boating experience then I would HIGHLY suggest that you start by enlisting a friend (that boats) to join you for your first few trips whether that be Winnisquam or the Big Lake.

Not to be mean, but having a boating certificate does not mean your ready to handle the helm of a boat …………….. one of the unfortunate parts of the boating certificate process is that unlike a vehicle license - there is "no road" training.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:53 AM   #3
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Boy ain't that the truth, I think 1/2 the boaters certs would have been fails for lack of ability to parallel "dock"

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Old 05-23-2019, 09:02 AM   #4
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Welcome -

There are MANY many threads relating to first time boating here in the Forum .. I would suggest starting there.

If you have absolutely no boating experience then I would HIGHLY suggest that you start by enlisting a friend (that boats) to join you for your first few trips whether that be Winnisquam or the Big Lake.

Not to be mean, but having a boating certificate does not mean your ready to handle the helm of a boat .. one of the unfortunate parts of the boating certificate process is that unlike a vehicle license - there is "no road" training.
Ha, I agree with you on that last part which is why I'm hesitant and looking for advice. I don't really know anyone here - has anyone had good experiences with the local marinas that will let you rent a "captain" for an hour or two? I figure that might be a good way to learn.
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:14 AM   #5
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Ha, I agree with you on that last part which is why I'm hesitant and looking for advice. I don't really know anyone here - has anyone had good experiences with the local marinas that will let you rent a "captain" for an hour or two?
Our friends at Anchor Marine provide that service:

https://www.anchormarine.net/drivers.htm
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:19 AM   #6
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I have no boating experience but want to learn. I have my NH safe boating certificate. I was thinking of renting something on winnisquam to start, maybe it's a less intimidating lake? I eventually want to end up with something on winnipesaukee but I'm a little nervous after hearing crazy stories about boating on this lake and the fact that I have no experience.

Any suggestions for this newbie?
I am sure there are many ways to approach this, but your plan to start small is a good one.

What worked for me -
Having grown up vacationing on Lake Winnipesaukee and spending time at my uncles hotel on the Broads in my teens/twenty's, I had some familiarity with the lake. He was one of those guys that trolled in his formula so he knew the run from Paugaus Bay to the Broads like the back of his hand day or night. Can't pick your family..., but it gave me exposure to night cruising using shore lights and buoys.

About 7 years ago, we started taking our family to the lake for a couple of long weekends each year. We would rent a boat for the weekend in the general area we were staying(Weirs beach, Meredith, Wolfeboro,..).

Best approach is to start off in a small area and expand to new areas as you get familiar with landmarks and navigation. It is very easy to get confused in some areas, but if you take it slow and triple check the map(Bizer maps are great), you will be able to expand to most areas as you get comfortable with the lake and the boat.

Before 10am and after 4pm on Summer days are the best time to go explore as the boat traffic is lightest and water is typically calmer.

3 years ago, we bought a home in Wolfeboro. For whatever reason, I had never been to the Wolfeboro end of the lake. Man was I missing a great part of the lake. Anyway, the first year we rented for 10 weekends from Goodhue and Hawkins(great place to rent from) and started exploring that area expanding where we went every weekend depending on what the family wanted to do and the weather. Since I was familiar with the other side of the lake, I made a few trips to Weirs, Meredith, Center harbor, Long Island... The following year, we purchased a boat and kept exploring different areas with each trip.

This year, my plan is to get to know the Moultonboro Bay area when I have time to explore.

-Start small and expand when comfortable
-Study the Map and explore when water is calmest and traffic is light
-Pay close attention to the weather forecast
-Watch out for knuckleheads that do not obey boating rule(speed, Right of way, drinking too much,...). They are out there almost every day of the season

your plan to go to Winnisquam may not be a bad one, but don't be afraid to get out on Winnipesaukee. You do not have to criss cross the entire lake to have a great time!
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:24 AM   #7
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You have the right attitude toward this.

There is plenty to learn and time spent with an experienced captain will help.

Once on your own, beware of distractions from inside and outside your vessel.

We don't have double yellow lines to keep us in the correct place.

One thing to remember as you are learning is this:

Unless there is certainty that there is no possibility of collision, the operator must assume the possibility exists and take any and all action to avoid it.

In other words...don't rely on others to operate their boat correctly!

Have fun and pm me if you want to get some experience piloting around Winni at the helm of my Sea Ray 240.

Week days are best form me.
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:57 AM   #8
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My only issue with starting on Winnisquam is even me after living on Winnisquam for years I am not prepared properly for Winnipesaukee. It is very hard to screw up on Winnisquam in comparison to Winnipesaukee. Winnipesaukee it pays to know the lake. There is virtually nowhere to go, explore or rocks to hit on Winnisquam so if you do go out just stay 150' away from everything and you'd be fine.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:03 AM   #9
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I have no boating experience but want to learn. I have my NH safe boating certificate. I was thinking of renting something on winnisquam to start, maybe it's a less intimidating lake? I eventually want to end up with something on winnipesaukee but I'm a little nervous after hearing crazy stories about boating on this lake and the fact that I have no experience.

Any suggestions for this newbie?
If you have no boating experience Winnisquam is a great lake to start on. When you rent the boat they will tell you to stay away from the very southern part of the lake. Anything North of the bridge is very safe and easy to navigate. Rent a Pontoon and you will be on it all day.

I've never boated on Newfound but I've been told that is an easy lake to navigate also.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:08 AM   #10
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TheDoc -- let's start with where are you on the Lake ?

If you are anywhere around me, I would be more than happy to "joy ride" with you for a few hours ….. my wife would love it too as it would give her a break
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:21 AM   #11
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Don't rely solely on GPS once on the lake, learn how to read the chart/map (Bizer specifically) as well.

Go slow

Don't follow other boats as a method of navigating

Find someone to go out with you or to go out with on their boat to show you the lake

Go slow

Find some time to go out during the weekday. With virtually no boat traffic you can go at your own pace around areas that need more attention to learn those areas. You can also practice docking at certain town docks during the week with little traffic around to make you nervous.

While being on Winnisquam would be a great way to get used to a boat and how to operate it, it will not properly prepare you for navigation around Winni. But it is a great place to start in regards to getting used to the boat and controls.

Go slow

Have fun.

Be safe.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:31 AM   #12
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Best advice I ever got on this forum: don't approach anything faster than you'd want to hit it.

I'm a learner-through-doing type-a guy, so we picked up our new (to us) boat on a Friday afternoon and, with all hands on deck and a GPS, took her out to play. I stayed far from people as I went and practiced at the Center Harbor docks. The GPS and Bizer map made navigating the easy part--controlling the boat, especially in wind/chop, is what takes practice.

Good luck, and, like Phantom asked, let us know where you is so maybe one of us can hang out for a bit.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:47 AM   #13
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When you finally buy a boat, buy an extra prop and learn how to change it. When you hear that thumping noise coming from the back, trim up and shut down!
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Old 05-23-2019, 12:21 PM   #14
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TheDoc -- let's start with where are you on the Lake ?

If you are anywhere around me, I would be more than happy to "joy ride" with you for a few hours .. my wife would love it too as it would give her a break
Now this is what boating is about!!!!!!!!!!!
I have ridden with people many times to help them out and get them comfortable. Generally this take place after I have taken them out for a ride, so that they are already comfortable with my abilities.
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Old 05-23-2019, 12:36 PM   #15
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Start with your Bizer chart and I highly recommend WEEKDAYS to get used you your boat and how it's affected by the wind.When docking try and find a public dock near you early in the morning determine where the wind direction is coming from and practice. BTW no heros trying to jump onto the dock to assist that just brings injuries. Get right up so you can loop a line and then have someone help tie you off. You'll be amazed at how many boaters at the docks will help you get secured.
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:54 PM   #16
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I'd start in wolfeboro on a weekday morning on a day with no wind. The yacht club has pontoon boats for rent at a very reasonable rate. Docking is easy there (not so at goodhue and Hawkins) and you can explore a lot of territory with very few hazards to get the hang of those damn buoys.
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:49 PM   #17
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Our starting point was to rent for two days on Winnisquam. That was a low-stress way to determine if we liked the idea of being on a boat for a good portion of a day, get some experience in handling a boat, etc. We learned for example that a bimini was going to be a must-have, how trimming the drive affected ride, the importance of paying attention and keeping a watchful eye, among other things.

After those two 'test' days we knew we wanted to get into boating, and only then did we begin looking at used boats for sale through several marinas on the big lake. The other thing that was a huge help was this forum, as I spent many evenings during the previous winter reading through posts to get educated on all the aspects of boating - certificates, boat types, storage, maintenance, assessing condition, and much more. So I'm quite thankful to our webmaster and all those who contribute here.
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Old 05-24-2019, 10:08 AM   #18
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Wow, thank you all for the advice! I'm in the Gilford/Laconia end of things.
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Old 05-24-2019, 10:50 AM   #19
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Wow, thank you all for the advice! I'm in the Gilford/Laconia end of things.
Visit Irwin Marine, Lakeport Landing and Paugus Bay Marina, all right next to each other. You can see several types and sizes of boats, new and used, in a short period of time. Boating and navigating on Paugus Bay is relatively straight forward (don't go between the two islands). There's even a nice sandbar by the Margate Resort. As a small body of water, it doesn't have much water turmoil due to wind and weather. There will be boat traffic on weekends.
Share the driving, share the fun.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:55 PM   #20
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Default Start on the Big lake...And a summer read...

Don't be intimidated by the process. My boating started at age 9 with a row boat on Lake Winni. I graduated up from there. The size of the lake is not a real big issue if you know your limitations and safety issues. They apply everywhere.

An interesting read on "boating", and even more on life is this book...

"First You Have To Row a Little Boat"...

http://www.windtraveler.net/2013/02/...ttle-boat.html

I can't recommend this enough. The metaphor of boating and the journey through life is worth your time. A great summer read.
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Old 05-26-2019, 01:00 PM   #21
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Lot's of good advice. My father started to teach us when we were in grade school. He always said, " not a whole lot can go wrong if you approach it at 'no wake' speed". We got to know our area like the back of our hands. Every rock, buoy, boat, when the Mount would come by, where the wind really caught the water and made it difficult, and where there was safe harbor. One mistake we made, and I really like the idea of the reply suggesting you venture out in concentric-like circles, is we got so comfortable with our area, we didn't explore the Lake as much as we should have. Around 2005, that all changed. Been to as many nooks and crannies as we can find, ALWAYS with Bizer, and when it was a 1st time venture to a new spot, at no-wake speed. As you move to each new territory, you'll find the Lake is an amazing collection of new vistas around every corner. And wave to other boaters. Do it well enough, someone will ask you to captain them out their first time.
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Old 05-26-2019, 06:17 PM   #22
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Do NOT under estimate the power of Mother nature.
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Old 05-27-2019, 04:01 PM   #23
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TheDocIsIn - I recommend you find a friend or someone who will take you out on the lake (any) and go through the controls and operation of a craft and then allow you to "student drive".

Too many inexperienced boaters think operation of a watercraft is like a motor vehicle - wrong!

Safe boating and good luck!
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Old 05-28-2019, 01:11 PM   #24
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Definitely a lot of good advice. I'd say the real thing that makes Winnipesaukee "interesting" is there are a lot of markers to be aware of, and the only way to know how where they are is to carefully explore the lake. Ideally this will be with someone who already knows it well, but otherwise keep a chart nearby and consult it religiously, and go out with someone sharp eyed who will point out markers too in case you don't see them (kids are great at this!). Oh, and as others said, go out on weekdays over weekends!

Other than that the hardest part about boating is the docking part itself, especially when it's windy. First practice with no wind.
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Old 05-28-2019, 01:19 PM   #25
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Other than that the hardest part about boating is the docking part itself, especially when it's windy. First practice with no wind.
Quite true ! and as was said before, do not approach anything (a dock) at a speed greater than what you wish to HIT it.


Clearly if you have a private dock - this is the ideal spot to practice in varying conditions. But should you be in a Marina and not wish to be a spectacle nor have 5 other "dock Captains" giving you conflicting advice while your embarrassed to hell . I use to take my grand daughter (14 yr/old) over to Center Harbor public docks - mid week - to practice. Another spot is Weirs Public dock.... but they are essentially "straight In" approach whereas Center Harbor gives you some variety.



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Old 05-28-2019, 02:05 PM   #26
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About 5 years ago a buddy of mine bought his first boat with his sister and brother inlaw. It was a 30' Sea Ray and he docked it on Cape Cod. His first weekend out when he was coming back in to dock he somehow knocked the throttle forward and the boat lunged toward the dock. He quickly hit the throttle in reverse before hitting the dock but little did he know his brother inlaw fell off the back of the boat.

It wasn't petty, he back up into his brother inlaw and the prop chewed up his leg pretty badly. Off to the hospital in an ambulance he went and he was lucky he didn't lose his leg.
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Old 05-29-2019, 11:22 AM   #27
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Great advice through this thread. I am also a brand new boater on the lake. Spent the weekend taking the boat out for the first time (3 days) to different locations with an experienced lake Winni boater (+ 25 years). So many good practical leanings and takeaways. Biggest ones; 1) Do not trust other boats to know what they are doing or where they are going 2) Specifically, despite knowing right of way rules keep your head on a swivel and expect the unexpected 3) No need for speed - better to get a handle on surroundings and key markers 4) Docking and docking practice is where a large chuck of time needs to be spent. Understanding speed, wind, and throttle sensitivity all a huge deal for me. 5) Mooring - I am on a mooring and similar to docking understanding how to get attached was a huge deal.

All in all a great weekend on a great lake. Hoping to have the same friend with me for most of the summer to keep learning! Also great advice if i can do it, I intend to try and spend time in the middle of a week on the lake just practicing docking. I had an audience a few times at a few locations so definitely had some pressure. Slow and steady... neutral is my friend!

Thanks to all the folks who post great advice on the site.
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Old 05-30-2019, 09:41 PM   #28
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Default Newbie to the lake

Hi;

I have over 50 years on the lake....boating, snorkeling, scuba, and, mostly, fishing...... I would be happy to show you the ropes.

call me WINNI BOB @ 617-678-1018 or email bobbycoff1940@gmail.com
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Old 05-30-2019, 10:20 PM   #29
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Hey Bob,

Don't you mean "show you the lines"?

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Old 05-30-2019, 11:18 PM   #30
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Hey Bob,

Don't you mean "show you the lines"?

Cute !

Yes...Lines, Spring Lines, fishing lines, and anchor rode.

ha, ha

Winni Bob
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