Question about safe boating from newbie...

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Chris Snider

Well-Known Member
Apr 10, 2001
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I just purchased my first boat this past weekend (4/7/01). It's a 1994 Nitro 2000 DC (20') with a 200hp Merc... What a boat! Anyway, I took her out the next day to see what she would do... It's the first time I've been on this lake, so I didn't really know if very well. To make a long story short, I ended up running into the muddy bottom going slow with the outboard. SCARED ME TO DEATH! I raised the motor trim and backed out alright... I checked the SS prop and there doesn't appear to be any damage (THANK GOD!) I'm very grateful that I wasn't going fast...

Anyway, my question is this... What's the best advice for safely navigating a new lake? Drive around slow first to learn the place? Monitor the flasher and slow down when you see the depth reducing? Buy a map of the lake and go by the depths listed on the map?

ANY and ALL advice is much appreciated... I had my wife and daughter with me and running aground scared the HECK out of me...
Sgt.Thump, All of your ideas are right on. I usually try to get a map of the lake. Keep in mind that weather can change a lake's form a little each year so the maps are only a guide. I then go slow keeping an eye on my fishfinder. This allows me to watch my depth and see the contours of the lake. I will do this until I know the area and then I will pick up the speed. Keep in mind too that rising and falling water exposes and or hides things that you may not have noticed the last time out. Drive safe and enjoy! Mike
Sarge, just because you boat on inland lakes, doesn't mean you shouldn't know as much about running a boat as a salty old dog.

Go to the bookstore or library and get any of the texts on powerboating. In addition to practical advice on navigating unfamiliar water, you'll see stuff you'll want to know like handling on board emergencies, signalling, properly equipping the boat, etc.

I hate to say it, but I think a lot of bass boaters are guilty of not knowing the
THANKS guys... I appreciate the information... You're right Rich... I should head to the bookstore soon... I used to take my Grandpa's boat out all the time and it was no big deal... Of course, it was only a 12' aluminum jon boat with a 5 or 8 hp engine! You could probably run into anything and come to a smooth stop with his setup... As you know, it's a little different with a big boat and motor. I just need to be a little more careful than I originally anticipated. It's not quite as easy as just dropping the boat in and going...

Thanks again and I'll probably post more questions soon!