I’ve just ticked off a major item on my longterm to do list. As promised in last years post License to Thrill or License to Spill: Gettting Qualified on the Water, I’ve finally completed the requirements to obtain a NSW Maritime Boating License. Rather than do the self study and online test combined with completing a log book under Reg’s supervision, I joined a class of nine others at the Australian Boating College for a full day course. This course covered both the theory and practical in one hit.
If you’re keen to get on the water in a hurry, this course comes highly recommended. The theory tuition does away with the confusing language of the standard training content and delivers it in a more user friendly format. Furthermore if you are new to boating, the course is delivered in the context of your local waterways. Throughout the morning we discussed local examples of hazards, common weather conditions etc. that we might come across in Sydney Harbour, Pitt Water and Port Hacking; something you wouldn’t benefit from by doing the course independently. We were also brought up to speed on recent changes to the maritime law in NSW, including that it is now compulsory for children under 12 years to wear a life jacket at all times (more on that next week).
The afternoon on the water (4 or 5 students at a time for almost three hours) gave us all the opportunity to take the helm, practice anchoring, driving at speed, in figure eights in forward and reverse and emergency stops at high speed. Whilst the tinny can do 20 knots fully cranked, much of this won’t apply until we upgrade to a stinkboat (but why would we do that?!). Having said that it was quite a lot of fun hooning around the upper reaches of Middle Harbour, which was deserted by everyone else in favour of a dry afternoon indoors watching the election coverage. How dull.
Before we headed back to the boat ramp at Tunks Park we took a bit of a tour around some good spots to anchor or beach your boat. The waterfalls were running and the bush trails invitingly signposted, awaiting exploration. A few of my classmates expressed surprise at how remote and enticing these places seemed, despite being only a stones throw from the CBD. Now that they’re licensed the harbour is their oyster. Hand over the helm Reg.