Thursday, 24 June 2010

My Powerboat Licence Experience

On Thursday and Friday of last week I took the prudent steps to gain a licence to drive small boats or tenders. As the world becomes more regulated it is wise to have some sort of qualification for driving small boats. Previously I only had some bush lawyer advice from another New Zealander.

"You only need a licence if you fuck up. So do not fuck up and you will be sweet"

While I admire this attitude, we live in times where things do fuck up. Even me.

I did not have many requirements for my course. I did want to steer well clear of one vampiric training institution which is the scourge of yachting. People in the know will know of who I do not speak of.

I made the wise choice of signing up with the Riviera Sea School who are based out of Golfe Juan

Confession time. Summer is not really here yet. I love making people feel jealous in other parts of the world as much as any other traveller but the weather has been pretty shit.


So come Thursday morning it was positively bucketing down! Luckily I had a change of clothes and thought at least the first morning of my course would be theory so I would be ok.

My instructor turned up on time and told me I was the only student for the next two day. RSS does not cancel courses when they have cancellations, unlike other evil training institutions.

I had the appearance of a drowned rat. He pulled out a poncho I could borrow and we made our way to the class room. The instructor gleefully informed me that the course was 90% practical and 10% theory. I wistfully willed the rain to abate. It did.

What followed, were two thoroughly enjoyable days of boating, manoeuvres, theory, laughs, banter and studious education.

My tutor was a knowledgeable type of bloke with the kind of god like tender skills which come with driving a tender almost every day of the year. He could teach anyone new things. Probably even god.

There is some practised subtle irony in that last sentence which I am happy to explain in person any time. For a nominal fee.

On our final day I got to choose a spot on the map. I then drew up a passage plan and we set off on a beautiful morning with nothing but a compass heading and a stop watch to guide us.

Driving a boat at sea in a straight line is some what akin to driving a tractor in a freshly tilled paddock when you only have posts to steer by. Probably.


We got to our anchorage safely and I got to drop the anchor.I then took some photos for this very blog


This is why I chose this magnificent anchorage.


View back to Golfe Juan


My instructor, Sam. Nice guy. Kept wanting to buy him a beer and then remembered we were not in a bar and that that would not be very appropriate or easy.



A more relaxed first time Captain you will never see.

At the end of two days I had an afternoon practical test of sorts. I passed. I then had some questions to answer. I was left in the tender, baking in the sun whilst the course instructor got my licence and the questions to follow. I was in a semi delirious state when he got back, having been afflicted by sun stroke and my brain had melted after furiously cramming a pack of study cards and the contents of a book.

Needless to say. I passed the test and have my licence.
Show all
Job done.

Three cheers me and the Riviera Sea School.
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