On a bright Saturday morning a group of tired and hungover divers arrived at the SU for the first day of their boat handling course taught by the not so hungover Chris and Sam. This day involved theory lessons of the need to know with boat handling. This included some of the following: an overview of the boats themselves, essential items to take on a trip, nautical rules of the road, dive trip planning, and the various types of buoys.
Halfway through the day we all dragged ourselves to the café to get some essential coffee and snacks before trying to get out heads around different types on knots. We sure all learnt how useful a bowline can be. To end the day, we were set to a task of planning our own dive trip and got some very handy websites to use on wind and tides.
The next morning all very excited, the majority of us headed down to the harbour to jump into the boats, while Tom and Chris made a quick trip to Portishead marina to drop off the trailer for lock-in later that day. In the harbour we carried out slow-speed manoeuvre training, including 3-point turns, coming alongside, beaching, reversing around a buoy (Sams DSMB), and towing another boat.
By 12:30 we were on our way down to the end of the harbour for our lock-out time at 12:55. While there the harbour master came to get our boat names UBUC1 and UBUC2, despite confusing it for U-boat. Soon after the lock lowered, and we were on our way down the Avon to the river Seven.
Once we reached the M5 bridge we made a radio call and Chris and Sam put on the gas and showed us how you really plane a boat. Once out of the way of the main dock entry, the rest on us took control and had a go at planing the boats! Next, we carried out our other high-speed manoeuvres of high-speed turns and man overboard. We then ran through the essentials of a diving skipper including dropping off divers, anchoring and marking a dive site with a shot. Just before lock-in time at 16:15, we let Chris have another go planing and to Ethan’s delight we admired some of the houses along the coastline.
Although there was a slight miss communication with lock-in, both boats managed to squeeze in and were lifted up into Portishead marina. The boats were then loaded onto the trailer to be taken back to stores to be washed down. A very lucky Tom and Joe manged to miss out on this and enjoyed a cold pint to the delight of the rest of the group. By 19:00 the boats were packed away in stores and all tired heads made there way back home for some well food and a bed.
Remember if you are anywhere near divers in the water, ENGINE IN NEUTRAL!!