This weekend we had 2 students looking to master Advanced Powerboating skills to ensure that they can operate safely at night, find both lit and unlit marks and master more advanced close quarter handling skills such as ferry gliding. To find out what they got up to over their 2 day course and go afloat in our new course video then read on….
Day 1 is a long day taking in a whole days training plus a night passage and pilotage exercise. We started the day with a theory session looking at how to construct a pilotage plan to get us into the river Avon avoiding the very busy shipping lane. Our students quickly mastered secondary ports and the essential information from the charts. With the briefings done our students headed out to prepare the boat to go afloat. Heading out through the lock gates they got their first taste of the Bristol Channel and put their pilotage plan to good use. Negotiating the busy shipping channel was the first challenge to safely navigate into the River Avon and then onto picking up a MOB using different techniques: rear quarter, beam on and bow on.
Next was slow speed close quarter handling in confined spaces trying out downwind berthing into a restricted berth, reverse berthing and the ultimate control – ferry gliding. Our students were really beginning to understand how to make the pivot point of the boat and the prevailing conditions work safely to their advantage.
The night exercise focussed on the ability to operate safely in the dark executing a well prepared passage and pilotage plan to find both lit and unlit marks. With such busy shipping movements for both Avonmouth and Portbury dock a good understanding of IRPCS was essential! For the last night challenge we challenged the students to recover “Bob” our MOB dummy – thankfully his lifejacket was fitted with a light!
Day 2 started with a quick debrief on their night performance identifying any areas to be worked on – thankfully very few for our students who were certainly getting the hang of it! With favourable tide for most of the day the focus shifted slightly to advanced meteorology and electronic navigation using the on-board electronics to navigate safely across the Bristol Channel and up the River Wye to Chepstow.
With a quick run back to Portishead we had covered around 50 miles over the 2 days in our 6.5m Solent RIB. To finish up the day our students had a go at towing one of our other RIBs in confined spaces and mastering the art of putting a towed vessel safely and accurately alongside a pontoon. Overall it was a very successful weekend with some great learning points and both of our students more than meeting the required pass standard.
So a big congratulations to Helena and Steve – and what’s next? No doubt after some practice and experience we’ll see them back for their Advanced Commercial Exams in the near future.
If you want to get on board with our students and experience the Advanced Course for yourself check out our YouTube channel click here.