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Old 08-10-2019, 06:20 AM   #1
thinkxingu
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Default Some Thoughts on New Helms(wo)men: My Wife

My wife took the all-day class at Moultonborough last week to earn her license and last night took us from Hanson Cove to Ambrose Cove Marina to fuel up, Winter Harbor to swim, Alton Bay for dinner at Pop's, back to Alton Bay to ride out the storm (!), and back home.

Two thoughts:

1. There are a lot of nuances they don't (can't?) teach at the class that one can only learn with experience AND someone to teach during that experience.

2. The nuances noted in #1 make it difficult to avoid "mistakes."

Example: when approaching a marker, it is important to pay attention to other boats approaching from the other direction. Though there are no "lanes," hugging a marker can force another boater to a. stop or b. into an inconvenient/unsafe situation. This happened a couple times early on, one of which was with someone pulling a tube. Because she came in tight to a marker on her left, she forced the boaters to cross her bow, slowing both them and the boats behind us.

My wife wasn't "wrong" but she wasn't "right" either, which made me wonder just how many "mistakes" on the lake are a result of people not being educated beyond the basics.

Overall, she did great, even navigating us across the broads and docking twice on a pretty choppy day.

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Old 08-10-2019, 06:28 AM   #2
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Kudos! Having another driver on the boat is awesome! Even to take the wheel for a few minutes to free you up.

It does take some practice. Try to keep a lookout of whatís around you and read the water ahead. Larger wakes you might want to slow down for, wind ripples can help you dock, etc. and have fun donít get frustrated .


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Old 08-11-2019, 07:51 AM   #3
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Unfortunately as part of the licensing process there isn't an actual test to demonstrate basic operation such as a driving test when getting a regular drivers license. Nor is there any education where that hands on experience can be exercised. Book knowledge is one thing but hands on is something entirely different. Boating unlike driving a car has so many variables that simply cannot be taught through any other means than experience.

It's better than nothing, but falls well short of how it is portrayed by most.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:37 AM   #4
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Unfortunately as part of the licensing process there isn't an actual test to demonstrate basic operation such as a driving test when getting a regular drivers license. Nor is there any education where that hands on experience can be exercised. Book knowledge is one thing but hands on is something entirely different. Boating unlike driving a car has so many variables that simply cannot be taught through any other means than experience.

It's better than nothing, but falls well short of how it is portrayed by most.
Agree 100%. If the state was "really serious" about "teaching" people how to handle a boat, it would have a "driving" test before any actual license was issued. Even then, it would be useless because of all of the different "conditions" that have to be dealt with, and the fact that a boat takes more "practice" than a vehicle on the road does IMHO. You are NOT going to learn how to pilot a boat in a 30 minute "driving test". So, we all know that is never going to happen, so, the boating license, besides being a joke, is just a revenue generator. The BEST teacher is the experienced Captain sitting beside you as you pilot the vessel. The ONLY thing the book teaches, is the basic "rules" of navigating, and boating etiquette, that a lot of people seem to forget, or ignore, which to me, is part of the entertainment you get while out on the water!! Just keep your head up at all times for these people, and enjoy the show... "The book" could NEVER possibly "teach" the actual handling of a boat.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:52 AM   #5
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It isn't perfect but if you actually learn the rules and take the test it's better than nothing as it was.
The problem is, you can go on line in another state and just take the course online and they just send you a license that is legal everywhere.

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Old 08-11-2019, 10:30 AM   #6
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Letís face it...operating a boat on a lake is a free for all that utilizes the ďhonor systemĒ be used to adhere to boating laws. As far as all licensed boater operators being diligent about obeying those laws...well, we all know different.
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Old 08-11-2019, 01:37 PM   #7
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Congratulations to your wife. That was quite an extended cruise, and some heavy weather, too.
The hardest part of teaching someone to drive a boat is learning to shut up until they ask for advice. The next hardest part in our family was getting people to keep a 360 degree watch, especially if you boat is capable of throwing a wake at 1/2 throttle when you slow down because you're uncertain of what's ahead.
Next, you will both have more confidence after she has taken the boat out by herself a few times.
More drivers, more fun for all.
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Old 08-11-2019, 09:56 PM   #8
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Default Teaching Neophytes

I have helped more than a few new boaters learn the ropes when it comes handling a boat. I am an experienced "OK" captain, meaning I know what I know, and more importantly, what I don't know. I am not going to list the handling skills I help them learn (the list would be moderately long and tedious), but I will list some of the non-handling skills that can be just as important:

Reading a chart and knowing how to determine position.

How to choose a marine radio and how to use it. (I don't know how many people I have advised about having a marine radio. As I have said more than once, cell phone coverage on the lake is spotty and if you need to call for help it may be the only way to do so.)

How to load and balance the boat (goes back to my flying days), something that can adversely affect the handling of the boat and in turn the safety of the passengers and crew, as well as other boats and boaters.

Selecting the proper size/type anchor(s) and how to set it/them. (I ran across some new boaters this summer having problems with a dragging anchor. It turns out their anchor was undersized. They also had it tied off to the bow eye and not a bow cleat which made it impossible for them to adjust the anchor rode to the depth of the water.)

That's just a few of the many things I try to teach if the need arises.
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:29 AM   #9
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Default boat drivers

While we are on rules of the road:

While sitting on the sandbar this weekend, a discussion started about people driving a boat here on the lake and other waters in the state of New Hampshire.

Can a non-license (boat) person drive a boat while a licensed person is on board with them?

Some say no and some say yes.

We looked in the little Boaters Guide for NH and it isnít really clear. Is says the persons under the age of 16 can but what about folks over 16?

Who knows the law?
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:33 AM   #10
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While we are on rules of the road:

While sitting on the sandbar this weekend, a discussion started about people driving a boat here on the lake and other waters in the state of New Hampshire.

Can a non-license (boat) person drive a boat while a licensed person is on board with them?

Some say no and some say yes.

We looked in the little Boaters Guide for NH and it isnít really clear. Is says the persons under the age of 16 can but what about folks over 16?

Who knows the law?
The reason my wife got her certificate is because she was told that over 16 needs a certificate, even with someone with a certificate. Under 16 can drive under the adult's certificate.

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Old 08-12-2019, 07:40 AM   #11
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The reason my wife got her certificate is because she was told that over 16 needs a certificate, even with someone with a certificate. Under 16 can drive under the adult's certificate.

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That is COMPLETELY contrary to what I was taught

Gonna have to dig into this further - perhaps an email to MP - i was taught that as long as one liscenced driver was aboard - and takes responsibility - all is good regardless of age of driver.
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:48 AM   #12
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That is COMPLETELY contrary to what I was taught

Gonna have to dig into this further - perhaps an email to MP - i was taught that as long as one liscenced driver was aboard - and takes responsibility - all is good regardless of age of driver.
It's pretty clear.Name:  20190812_084829.jpg
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Size:  76.2 KB

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Old 08-12-2019, 07:51 AM   #13
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Source, BTW: https://www.boat-ed.com/newhampshire...102_700153722/

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Old 08-12-2019, 07:58 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Weekend Pundit View Post
I have helped more than a few new boaters learn the ropes when it comes handling a boat. I am an experienced "OK" captain, meaning I know what I know, and more importantly, what I don't know. I am not going to list the handling skills I help them learn (the list would be moderately long and tedious), but I will list some of the non-handling skills that can be just as important:

Reading a chart and knowing how to determine position.

How to choose a marine radio and how to use it. (I don't know how many people I have advised about having a marine radio. As I have said more than once, cell phone coverage on the lake is spotty and if you need to call for help it may be the only way to do so.)

How to load and balance the boat (goes back to my flying days), something that can adversely affect the handling of the boat and in turn the safety of the passengers and crew, as well as other boats and boaters.

Selecting the proper size/type anchor(s) and how to set it/them. (I ran across some new boaters this summer having problems with a dragging anchor. It turns out their anchor was undersized. They also had it tied off to the bow eye and not a bow cleat which made it impossible for them to adjust the anchor rode to the depth of the water.)

That's just a few of the many things I try to teach if the need arises.
I watched many people on the Broads this weekend in Bow Riders crashing waves with kids in the front popping around like popcorn. Made me wish I could enlighten (educate) them. One in particular was listing to one side quite a bit due to weight distribution and clearly no trim tabs or knowledge of how to use them with 4-5 kids in the front hooting and hollering. High potential of someone getting hurt, made me cringe watching it.

Just as important as education is common sense and awareness. I wonder what goes through some peoples minds sometimes, I think they get caught up in thinking they're having fun. It's all good until it's not I guess or I'm just a buzz kill although I have to say we have a pretty good time with a rope off the back of the boat.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:05 AM   #15
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That is COMPLETELY contrary to what I was taught

Gonna have to dig into this further - perhaps an email to MP - i was taught that as long as one liscenced driver was aboard - and takes responsibility - all is good regardless of age of driver..
The boater ed law started in 1999 with a phase in b y age., Over time,as problems became apparent there were changes to things likehoiresepower started as 15, changed to 25. Proctored exam was added, and I believe the language about age was one of those changes. So, if you were an "early student" you may have been taught correctly and then there was some reconsideration.
In any event if you don't have a certificate, you're not supposed to drive if you're over 16.
If you're thinking about buying a boat, and never had one, I bet the salesperson still says "Here, you try it for awhile." There should be an "Instructor" certificate to cover that, same as various instructor levels for aircraft, but I don't think anybody wants to make things more complicated. Of course you can always still take the temporary certificate test, or drive something 25 hp or less for training.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:33 AM   #16
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The reason my wife got her certificate is because she was told that over 16 needs a certificate, even with someone with a certificate. Under 16 can drive under the adult's certificate.

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That is exactly why my wife has her certificate..... Of course now I have to encourage the boys to go through the class..... So that they can be alternate captains.....
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:20 PM   #17
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The reason my wife got her certificate is because she was told that over 16 needs a certificate, even with someone with a certificate. Under 16 can drive under the adult's certificate.

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Exactly right. My 16 year old was not allowed to drive anymore without his certificate, but my 14 year old can as long as there is someone with a certificate in the boat.

I hear all the complaints (most are valid) about the certificate and what it does and does not "teach". To me it's a step in the right direction. If NH were to require an on the water test and/or more formal training period, my guess is that most would be up in arms over the requirement. The current system at least requires boat operators to make some effort to learn what they should and should not do...
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:46 PM   #18
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I hate to be negative, but really, how could one possibly come up with an objective on the water test for a boater? There are too many variables in boats, wind, and wave conditions to make it possible to accurately measure true competence.

IMO, incompetent boating is not really a big problem in need of a solution, it tends to fix itself either through attrition or experience gained by bad judgement. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part, the bad boaters get weeded out. There are always new ones to take their place, but that's just the way it will always be.

FWIW, if you only boat on Winnipesaukee, you likely have no idea just how good you have it. The boating experience on the lake is truly fantastic compared to most other places. I spent Saturday night at a dock by the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth and witnessed countless safe passage violations in direct view of the omnipresent coast guard and often-present NHMP. Boats were routinely passing my docked boat, fully on-plane, within 25 feet. That's just the way it often is off Winni... I was prepared for it with 6 lines and 5 fenders; my boat was unscathed.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:27 PM   #19
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I hate to be negative, but really, how could one possibly come up with an objective on the water test for a boater? There are too many variables in boats, wind, and wave conditions to make it possible to accurately measure true competence.

IMO, incompetent boating is not really a big problem in need of a solution, it tends to fix itself either through attrition or experience gained by bad judgement. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part, the bad boaters get weeded out. There are always new ones to take their place, but that's just the way it will always be.

FWIW, if you only boat on Winnipesaukee, you likely have no idea just how good you have it. The boating experience on the lake is truly fantastic compared to most other places. I spent Saturday night at a dock by the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth and witnessed countless safe passage violations in direct view of the omnipresent coast guard and often-present NHMP. Boats were routinely passing my docked boat, fully on-plane, within 25 feet. That's just the way it often is off Winni... I was prepared for it with 6 lines and 5 fenders; my boat was unscathed.
You should (and probably have) watch some of the YouTubes on some of the Florida ports like Haulover for instance...the way they operate down there, itís a wonder people arenít killed on a daily basis. Crazy.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:48 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Dave R View Post
FWIW, if you only boat on Winnipesaukee, you likely have no idea just how good you have it. The boating experience on the lake is truly fantastic compared to most other places. I spent Saturday night at a dock by the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth and witnessed countless safe passage violations in direct view of the omnipresent coast guard and often-present NHMP. Boats were routinely passing my docked boat, fully on-plane, within 25 feet. That's just the way it often is off Winni... I was prepared for it with 6 lines and 5 fenders; my boat was unscathed.
This is so true Dave!

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Old 08-13-2019, 08:36 AM   #21
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my wife flat out refuses to drive the boat in any way, says it gives her anxiety...
this can make for some stressful family outings for me since i have to do everything. in particular, it would be very helpful to have her at the wheel while setting the anchor. it's fun to be up on the bow dropping anchor and then scoot back to the helm to put the boat in gear to set it... it'd be nice if she could just put it in reverse for a few seconds, not hard to do.. she won't touch the steering wheel or any controls at all, even at idle speed!
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:14 AM   #22
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I am very fortunate in that my wife is a better captain than I am. She's been doing it all her life as she grew up around boats and I learned how to navigate over a few years from her and my father-in-law being my "co-pilots". We take turns driving our pontoon around with 2-10 of our closest friends. Whoever drives is drinking water and the other one can enjoy some more serious libations. Having two people on the boat who know what they are doing makes for a much more relaxed docking and anchoring procedure and the rest of the passengers on board can sit back and enjoy the trip.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:43 AM   #23
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my wife flat out refuses to drive the boat in any way, says it gives her anxiety...
this can make for some stressful family outings for me since i have to do everything. in particular, it would be very helpful to have her at the wheel while setting the anchor. it's fun to be up on the bow dropping anchor and then scoot back to the helm to put the boat in gear to set it... it'd be nice if she could just put it in reverse for a few seconds, not hard to do.. she won't touch the steering wheel or any controls at all, even at idle speed!
Why not simply teach her how to pull the anchor from it's locker and "plop" it in the water --- only thing that's needs some training & communication back to the Captain is "setting" it …. a few gentle tugs (there is a simple technique) and voila … problems solved.


Although my wife does not like to drive ( she can & is capable) she fills in on all the other helpful duties i.e. stern lines when backing into our Marina dock, stern lines when docking anywhere, taking the helm when I have to visit the "head" and of course- dropping the bow anchor at sandbars...…….. guess I'm one of the lucky ones.


P.S. -- she has already made it clear that after 35 years of boating together -- the NEXT boat must come equipped with a power Winch/windlass ( not human Wench).
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:46 AM   #24
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my wife flat out refuses to drive the boat in any way, says it gives her anxiety...
this can make for some stressful family outings for me since i have to do everything. in particular, it would be very helpful to have her at the wheel while setting the anchor. it's fun to be up on the bow dropping anchor and then scoot back to the helm to put the boat in gear to set it... it'd be nice if she could just put it in reverse for a few seconds, not hard to do.. she won't touch the steering wheel or any controls at all, even at idle speed!
You should at least teach her how to use the VHF to call for help if something happens to you. And know enough navigation to tell others where you are.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:49 AM   #25
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I wonder how many boats on the lake have VHF radios aboard?

One's that do, do they turn them on?

I have purchased two new boats in the last three years and neither had a VHF as an option when they were ordered.

I do carry a hand held VHF but it is there just in case, other wise it's off.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:53 AM   #26
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I wonder how many boats on the lake have VHF radios aboard?

One's that do, do they turn them on?

I have purchased two new boats in the last three years and neither had a VHF as an option when they were ordered.

I do carry a hand held VHF but it is there just in case, other wise it's off.
I've not gotten a VHF in the six summers I've boated. I look at them periodically, but I don't want a permanent install and the handhelds always (seem to) get mediocre ratings. Anyone have a good suggestion?

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Old 08-13-2019, 11:53 AM   #27
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There are a couple of philosophies regarding VHF radio's nowadays

In the past, they were essential in that MP actually monitored CH 16 from Glendale and us old timers will remember "Mighty Mo" who assisted Marine Patrol in monitoring from Moultonborough. Cell phone coverage was spotty at best in those days. So it was an essential option for boaters to have one aboard (not handheld).

As a side note - Mighty Mo was also always available for questions or directions as well as he often times warned boaters of storms moving in on our direction & other helpful advisories.


Today, the cell phone coverage is vastly improved (but hardly perfect- especially in the West Alton area) & MP does not monitor from Glendale any longer … only in their boats, which they cannot hear if underway. Yet, I am STILL of the opinion that the fastest way to get help (from Good Samaritans) in the case of an emergency or simply calling for assistance is by the use of the VHF even today.


Every time I step in the boat, the blower goes on & the VHF does too !!


Regarding handhelds -- they are essentially useless as they are only 3 Watts and distance is a SEVERE issue ….. which has been debated here in another thread years ago

The good news is that Ch #16 has quieted down now without all the typical weekend warriors of the past thinking it was a "CB" radio
("Good Buddy")


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Old 08-13-2019, 12:51 PM   #28
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Good points, Phantom. I don't know how prevalent this is now, but marinas used to monitor VHF, sometimes on ch 9 instead of ch 16, so it was mostly for their customers. A handheld will usually get you a contact within a couple of miles. If you're in Center Harbor and need help, you don't really care if somebody in West Alton hears you. When I had a jetski, I always carried a handheld in a water proof carrier. Never needed it, felt good to have it.
Biggest problem with any device is being able to hear over engine/wind noise when you're cruising. I think SeaTow and Tow BoatUS also monitor Ch 16. so there are helpers listening, but they don't participate in the C B style chatter.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:54 PM   #29
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All fishermen on the lake who have and use VHF radios monitor and use channel 12. If I had a serious problem on the lake, especially in the morning hours, a hail on channel 12 would bring help the quickest. I would then follow with another hail on 16.

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Old 08-13-2019, 01:03 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by ishoot308 View Post
All fishermen on the lake who have and use VHF radios monitor and use channel 12. If I had a serious problem on the lake, especially in the morning hours, a hail on channel 12 would bring help the quickest. I would then follow with another hail on 16.

Dan
Is there a handheld that is powerful enough to make it worth having?

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Old 08-13-2019, 01:34 PM   #31
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Is there a handheld that is powerful enough to make it worth having?
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Simple answer --- NO

They are ALL 5 watt units …. standard versions are toglle between 5W & 25W.

The handheld will carry a "reasonable" distance-- but for example - We are in Saunders Bay and it will not carry to Stonedam Isl (tried many a time) on the other hand, a handheld can "Hear" everything -- you just can't respond or acknowledge ….. which gets frustrating.

Yes, we have a handheld too, but use it for nearby boat to boat when we have friends visiting (loaner concept).
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:43 PM   #32
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Biggest problem with any device is being able to hear over engine/wind noise when you're cruising.

I think SeaTow and Tow BoatUS also monitor Ch 16. so there are helpers listening, but they don't participate in the C B style chatter.
Descant - You are right on both points.

I have always used an "amplified" external speaker that is mounted under my dash it's a box essentially 3.5"x3.5" and wired into the fuse box. This allows super amplification and simply plugs into earphone jack of radio.
Mine was an old Radio Shack purchase but similar are still available as below link

https://www.amazon.com/Uniden-BC23A-...s%2C140&sr=8-3

Your second point - Yes, Sea Tow and especially Tow Boat US are on the water (at least every weekend) and are monitoring #16.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:53 PM   #33
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An external antenna would help handhelds. Rather than parrot this, take a look at this thread:

https://www.winnipesaukee.com/forums...hlight=antenna
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:06 PM   #34
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Is there a handheld that is powerful enough to make it worth having?

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I have one (hand held) at my island camp that works fairly well. It's a 5 watt Standard Horizon STD-HX370S. When out on my deck my antenna is up pretty high, I would guess 20' above the water so I get fairly good coverage. From the West side of Welch I have I have spoken to people at Weirs, Center harbor, Diamond island etc. Its all about antenna height and line of sight. Yes wattage is lower than an installed unit so it obviously not going to have the power or range of an installed VHF. They do make a separate taller antenna that you could hook to a handheld which would increase your range but honestly I think before I went that route I would simply get an installed unit and be done with it...There are ways to utilize quick release mounts so you can remove the radio quickly when needed, same for the antenna...

The installed unit in my boat is a Lowrance VHF Marine Radio,Link-8,DSC attached to a 8' Shakespeare phase 3 antenna on the top of my helm. This puts me about 16' above the water...it works well.

Dan
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:57 PM   #35
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Default VHF Handhelds & Antennas

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An external antenna would help handhelds. Rather than parrot this, take a look at this thread:

https://www.winnipesaukee.com/forums...hlight=antenna
The "rubber duck" antennas on handhelds tend to be more like leaky dummy loads. I have made a few 'duck' antennas for my VHF marine handhelds and they worked pretty well, though they were a little unwieldy. In most cases the handheld gets connected to the VHF whip mounted on my boat. It greatly increases the range of the radio.

I presently use a Uniden handheld and it has served me well over the past 10 years. It's gotten me and a few others out of some problems out on the lake.
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