Compass Headings
Dedicated to raisng the bar


The Checklist:

Weather Planning
& Resources

Spare Parts &
Boat Outfit

& Equipment

Celestial Navigation
Vessel Conduct
Rules of the Road

Safety Equipment &
Vessel Paperwork

Trip Planning
Maneuvering, Anchoring
& Enroute Checks

Bar Entrances, Passes
& Narrows

Distances Reference
Mariner Math
Port Information
Panama Canal

Vessel Delivery
Selecting a Vessel
Selling Your Boat
Service Providers

Purchase Checklist

Maneuvering Tips

Keep control inputs slow and deliberate.

Use one hand and one control at a time.
This will help keep you under control.

If you feel the situation getting out of control,
. Take hands off the controls. Take a breath.

Always be aware of vessels drift in all axis.
Pick reference points to check your drift.

Your vessel is a natural weather vane.
It is always easier to back into the wind and current.
The bow will follow.

Always lead your turns.
Your turning radius will always be bigger than expected.

Always do your manueving upwind and upcurrent.
Always be aware of which direction the wind and current
will set you.

Be aware of your momentum. Let it work for you.
Let the wind/current work for you, not against you.

Make a plan and ensure that lines and fenders are
Set before you make your approach.

Ballard Locks (Seattle) 206-783-7000 VHF-Ch-13
Do not call unless necessary. Red and Green lights will indicate permission to enter lock. 50 foot bow and stern line required.
West bound: Set up for Starboard side.
East Bound: Set up for Port side.

Small Lock: Eye of the line stays on the boat. Run line around bollard on top of lock sleeve and back to boat.

Large Lock: Larger boats first.
Hand eye of the line to the lock attendant. Secure other end to the boat. Adjust line in or out as boat moves up or down.

Fenders: Set to protect furthest outboard hull protrusions/rub rails.

Note: Listen and follow all lock attendant directions.
Have all lines and fenders set before entering locks.

Anchoring Tips
  1. Select a position.
    a. Suitable depth and bottom. Amount of chain needed equals depth of water x 5.
    b. Allow enough room for you and neighboring vessels to swing.
    c. Prepare anchor for dropping.
  2. Approach position into the wind and current.
  3. Drop anchor, allow chain to pay out.
    a. Allow vessel drift.
    b. Drift back on chain.
    c. Length = Depth of water x 5
  4. Sit back on scope and ensure anchor is not dragging.

Enroute Safety & Mechanical Checks
All of the following are done on a routine basis:
Monitor vessel navigation
Visual lookout for traffic and hazards
Scan engine instruments
Routine check of engine room: Look, Listen, Smell
Walk around interior and exterior

Hull design, vessel weight, rudder size and speed are all factors in how each boat will handle different sea conditions.

When possible avoid heading directly into sea swell and wind chop.
Put seas off to the port or starboard of the bow. Do not put seas directly on the beam. Run as close to down swell and chop as possible.

When in uncomfortable conditions, play with heading and speed to find the best ride possible. Most boats are more stable at higher speeds so you may find that actually increasing speed helps your ride.

Ask the Captain
The Checklist
Purchase Checklist

Purchase books, cards CDs and Calendars
Books, cards and prints
offered by author
Chris Couch
Compass Headings Publishing.