Frequently Asked Questions
1. I’m interested in receiving some instruction, what is the first thing that happens?
First we do a comprehensive telephone consultation at no obligation to identify needs/goals, prioritize and develop a strategy for the lesson. This ensures our time on the water will be as productive as possible. If the first mate is going to be on board, it is advisable to have her / him included in consultation.
2. Where do you teach the instruction, your boat or mine?
I come to your marina and do the instruction on your vessel at the time of your choosing. If the boat is trailered, we agree to meet at a specific launch ramp at your convenience.
3. Do you drive the vessel and instruct or do I drive?
You will drive 90% of the time we are underway. I will be by your side the entire time to give guidance, instruct and ensure safety. I will demonstrate things like close quarters maneuvering / docking before turning over the helm to you.
4. How long will it take to teach me to competently operate my vessel?
Each client is different, each vessel is different, each location is different and each marina is different. I can give an estimate of how long it will take to achieve desired results based on consultation, but it depends on many (unforeseen) factors, so it should be considered just that: An estimate. You can end instruction at any time. There is no contract other than the 3-hour minimum.
5. How long is a typical lesson?
A typical lesson lasts between 3 to 6 hours. If it goes over four, we would probably take a one-hour break for lunch. I have found that it is mentally very fatiguing for most clients to go more than 4 hours without a break. (Especially large yachts in close quarters maneuvering / docking.)
6. I have children, can I bring them along?
Yes. But I highly recommend not doing so. The value of the lesson will be diminished in direct proportion to the number of children on board.
7. Please describe a typical lesson.
Usually the first thing we do is a simulated US Coast Guard / Pacific Powerboating safety check. Although I can’t issue the sticker or document for passing the test, I can identify deficiencies on your vessel to be corrected before taking the test from either US Coast Guard Auxiliary or US Power Squadron thereby insuring you will pass first time. Next I do a machinery / systems orientation to identify all system components and how they operate and interact. Then I start instruction on the agreed upon proficiencies in order of your priority.
8. Is this a course or a lesson?
The instruction is a minimum three hour lesson. I also have a course designed around the 10 core competencies. In many cases, you can receive a discount on your boat insurance after the completion of the 10 core competencies. There is no obligation beyond the first three hours and you can discontinue instruction at any time.
9. What are the 10 core competencies?
Machinery / Systems Orientation
Coast Guard Requirements
Close Quarters Maneuvering / Docking
Rules of the Road
Safety / Courtesy
Lines & Knots
Man Overboard Procedures
10. Do you charge by the person or the boat?
I charge by the vessel, not by the person. Including your first mate for the instruction is advised.
11. Do you charge by the day, hour or what?
I charge by the hour, ($80.00). There is a three-hour minimum and a $50 travel fee.
12. How do I set up my first lesson?
Simply call us at (925) 890-8428 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do the rest. I require a Visa or M/C number in order to confirm your reservation. You can pay by cash, check or keep it on the card.
13. What happens if the weather doesn’t cooperate on the day we scheduled?
Naturally, if we encounter inclement weather on the day of your lesson we will reschedule at no charge.
14. What happens if I’m not satisfied?
Satisfaction is guaranteed. If you discover that my boating instructions haven’t improved your boating techniques by the end of the instruction period, I will charge you “0” for the lesson.
15. What is your cancellation policy?
I require a 24-hour notice of cancellation. Cancellations made within 24 hours of appointment will be subject to a $80.00 cancellation fee. However, I understand some things are beyond your control and will work with you and try rescheduling the lesson without charge.
16. Will I receive anything to show that I have safely completed the boating lessons?
Only if you complete the 10 Core Competencies Course. You will receive a Certificate of Completion and a signed letter summarizing the competencies that have been completed. This can be presented to your insurance company for a possible insurance discount.
17. This would be perfect as a gift. Can I get gift certificates?
Absolutely! I offer gift certificates in denominations of hours of instruction. (Great for Christmas, Chanukah, Valentine’s Day, Mother / Father’s Day and Birthdays.) Simply call us at (925) 890-8428 or e-mail us at email@example.com.