Women on the Water at the Rendezvous

This article was written by Kim Lewis of the Archimedes and originally appeared on her blog.

One thing notable about most cou­ples who take to boat­ing is that when it comes to dock­ing (or gen­er­ally nav­i­gat­ing in tight quar­ters), you’re most likely to find the male at the helm. Note that I didn’t say all, as we have encoun­tered cou­ples where this was not the case at all, it’s just that gen­er­ally speak­ing, it’s the guy who takes the boat into the slip, and the gal who’s stand­ing ready to tie up ashore.


Enter the WOW or Women On Water course offered at the Grand Banks Ren­dezvous, a very pop­u­lar 2 hour course where women can, among other women and in a calm, stress-free envi­ron­ment, learn the sim­ple steps for bring­ing a boat in to a dock. North­west Explo­rations gra­ciously pro­vided the Tyee, a 42′ Grand Banks, for the classes, and Byron Richards served as instruc­tor for most if not all of the sessions. The classes are so pop­u­lar that they fill well in advance of the ren­dezvous with wait lists in case of openings.

For my class, there were five of us, a mix of sin­gle and dual engine trawler own­ers, one with thrusters.  Byron went to great lengths to make it easy for each of us prac­tice the skills we would need to use with our own boats, even while we were tak­ing the class on a boat with two engines — he’s a very calm, patient, accom­mo­dat­ing man (thank you, Byron!)    For a cou­ple of us who were for­mer sail­boat own­ers, han­dling a trawler is quite a bit dif­fer­ent — the boat is so much heav­ier, the wheel doesn’t seem to have as much effect as you’re used to, and hav­ing two engines is quite a change.   For those who have bow and/or stern thrusters, Byron wanted to be sure they learned how to dock with­out them — just in case.   The gist of the train­ing is this — use your engine(s), for­get the wheel (except in a few select cases).  And we all prac­ticed mov­ing away from the dock as well,


For me, the hard­est thing is still to resist the urge to brake too early when headed at the dock — but I real­ize that it’s impor­tant for me to know how to dock the boat in case Rusty is ever unable to do so.   If we ever have an emer­gency on the boat and need to get to port in a hurry, I’d much rather be able to bring the boat in quickly on my own than have to call and wait for help.   This way we’re just that much more self-sufficient, and I like that.

One thought on “Women on the Water at the Rendezvous

  1. Larry Brown

    My wife took a women-only course a number of years ago from NW Explorations. Since then, she’s the helms-person and I’m the deck monkey. I don’t think she necessarily lands or departs any better than I do, but I am better with lines, etc. So it works well. She also has a better grasp on judging distances when anchoring, so she’s at the helm for that too. We use headsets for communication (I would call them “marriage savers”) and that helps immensely. The best part of this for me is that she is able to take “ownership” of the boating experience and that allows me to continue with something (and someone) I love.
    BTW, it’s also fun to hear the accolades from other men and women (especially female Customs agents) after she docks; more couples should try this.

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