Learning to Drive a Boat!

My husband and I have always had a dream of owning a cabin and a boat. Literally for years we have been purchasing items for a boat that didn’t exist. We would hit a Cabalas sale and make a purchase for the “someday” boat. Every once in a while I would catch a glimpse of the skies hanging in our garage and laugh about the silliness of it all. (Yet very excited for the day when we would decide to purchase a boat instead of just talking about it).

Last fall we stumbled across a cozy little cabin at a very quiet lake about 45 minutes from our house. . It was everything we had ever dreamt about. As we toured the cabin we immediately began to talk about all the memories we would make. We pushed back the curtains to the large windows, I remember looking at my husband’s smile and us both shaking our heads in disbelief that our dream was about to become reality. We laughed at ourselves at being the only cabin owners at the lake last summer without a boat but loving every minute of our time there regardless.

As spring approached we decided to purchase a boat. Our kids were so excited! We literally parked the boat in our storage garage and spent a couple hours sitting in it talking about how “awesome” summer was going to be. The top priority of our summer list was signing my son and I up for boater’s safety school. My son is 14 and could legally drive the boat (if he passed the class) and I needed to take the class because I had no knowledge about “water rules”.

Lake Rules This past weekend my son and I spent 6 hours taking a boater’s safety course, yes, 6 hours! I am proud to say I only missed 4 questions on the exam (only to be out done by my son he missed only one). We decide that yesterday we would devote time to actual practice on the water, I felt confident that driving a boat was going to be a piece of cake, after I all I had taken I boaters 101 from the dealership on the operations of the boat and boaters safety to know the rules of the water.  I was ready to go!

After we had gotten the boat in the water my husband got up and said, “Here you go”, and I forze in my seat, I looked around at my kids in their life jackets, I looked at all the buittons that were supposed to mean something, and I could hear the boat idling away waiting for me… In that moment panick over took my confidence. I started remembering the “horror” stories or safety instructor had told us about. My husband laughed and told me everything was fine. he would be there for questions and to help if needed. I didn’t want my kids to see me not try to I moved into the drivers chair and slowly started out on the lake.

panicThe whole time my mind is racing, I am trying to remember all the rules of the water, stay right, look for boats, bouys. skiers, swimmers, etc. and my kids are begging for us to go faster than 5 miles per hour. I had to look like a complete idiot on the water. The first time a boat was coming toward me I shut our boat off. I was to scared to keep plunging forward in case the oncoming boat decided to change directions (then what would I do) It was the moist unrelaxing experience ever. Thankfully I had my sunglasses on so the kids couldn’t see the disappointment I had in the anxiety that was taking over this “dream” experience. What was happening to me, I never cry! Why was I feeling panicky instead of confidence?  I think that my husband was shocked by the reaction I was having. The rules of the water are much different than the rules of the road.  It took me hours to become comfortable driving around lake. (I really wish that there were water traffic signs) My kids stared poking fun at my driving which helped me relax a little. It took me 6 attempts to pull the boat up next to the dock. As I was walking off the boat I should have been feeling this sense of accomplishment but I honestly I felt only relief that the driving lesson was over.

What’s next… despite my self-doubt my husband is planning on showing me how to pull tubers and skiers this coming weekend. I try to smile and think no big deal but honestly I am shaking inside.skiing

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15 thoughts on “Learning to Drive a Boat!

  1. Charity,
    What a great task to tackle! I promise, it will be worth it once you get it down and your family will have so much fun! I love how you and your husband bought boat items before you actually had the boat. Congrats on your new cabin too! I would love to own one as well. Is your family big on fishing or just wanting to have fun on the water?

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    1. Thanks for the comments! My family LOVES the outdoors and the water. We spend a lot of time fishing. It is a great way to spend some family time together. My youngest is quite the fisher. We typically have contest each time we go out and she has held the record for biggest or most fish for months now. She is a tough competitor!

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      1. That’s great! I was always my dad’s fishing buddy when I was growing up, I don’t get out on the water as much as I’d like to anymore. We did a similar competition. I always won too! Sounds like you guys have a great time together!

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  2. I am hoping that this weekend I feel more calm behind the wheel. I was really shocked by the anxiety that took over my emotions while I was driving. I have spent a lot of the week focused on learning about self confidence and determination (Thank you TEDTALKS) I feel inspired to get back on the water and to keep trying.

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  3. I was experiencing your emotions as I read this. I can honestly say I would panic to. I have always considered driving a bought to be rather simple, but then again I have never done it. I have also never considered the rules to apply and how much they differ from the road. Although it’s seems scary now I think you will become comfortable behind the wheel of a boat (I don’t think I’m using the right terminology here) and be a wonderful driver. I can’t wait to follow you on this journey. Good luck!

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    1. I have gained some confidence. It has been more relaxing the more I drive. I still have a few “freak outs” though! I do not like having to circle around my kids when they need picked up after falling. It is awkward to drive towards them. I am getting better though! Thanks for the comments.

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  4. This is just a great example of how we are continually learning and in order to be a great learner we must face fears and reach outside of our comfort zone! Love the story.

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    1. I have been surprised by the amount of fear/intimidation that this has brought out in me. Not like my personality at all. Definitely learning!!

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  5. I have only been to the lake a few times, on a boat twice to be exact. Thus, I have very little knowledge of the rules of the water so I can only imagine how much my nerves would get to me had I been in your shoes! I am not one to cry either, I would certainly need a pair of those typical ‘bug-eye’ glasses if I was to have to drive a boat with others on the water and aboard. Your family sounds a bit like mine in that we poke fun at each other as a way of dealing with stress and keeping the mood lighthearted. I wish you the best of luck as you continue on your boating journey and learn how to pull tubers and skiers! Happy boating!

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    1. You should bring your family for a visit! It would be fun to get to know you and get you some more time on a boat! My family is very close and we do poke fun of one another (constantly). It is fun to have a family that supports and encourages each other regardless. Sometimes it helps to have little ones tat lighten the mood. I have even found times to laugh at my self through this. Thanks for the comments!

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  6. Charity, I love the idea of learning how to drive a boat! How fun! I really like how you started with your back story of how long you have had the dream of owning your boat. It really shows how passionate you are about this! It’s great to hear that even though you were scared, you were able to overcome that anxiety in order to succeed in your goal! Good luck with the rest of your journey!

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  7. Charity, I think that it is awesome that you are learning to drive a boat! I would love to learn someday, I can imagine that it would be quite scary. I also think it’s great that you and your husband had a dream and kept at it until it was a reality!

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