So the nights are drawing in, the weathers not as warm as it was a few weeks ago; it must be the end of the boating season. For many, it makes sense to put the boats to bed and settle down to normal winter activities around this time of year. Maybe a little off season maintenance, or an upgrade or two if the weather is nice at the weekend.
As a firm believer in lifelong learning I would suggest that no matter how good we feel our skills are there is always some room for improvement. I am always happy too walk away at the end of any course if I can say that I learnt at least one new thing or improved on an existing skill.
So what skills knowledge can be built upon over these drab winter months? How about updating your First Aid knowledge! There are likely to be a number of subtle changes to first aid practices and policy since you last did a course. Do you know your electronics navigation systems as well as you should. Is there a function on your chart plotter that has continued to evade use! Do you understand your RADAR, how to set it up for optimal interpretation. Do you understand COLREGS/IRPCS, does your VHF need upgrading to DSC! If you have already upgraded your VHF to DSC a VHF refresher may be in order.
If you haven’t navigated using paper charts for a while this could be a good one to start with. Electronic devices are fairly reliable but can fail without warning and sometimes the reason eludes us long enough to cause a mild panic. If you have been a good skipper you will have been keeping a record of your position, bearing, speed etc in your log. From this information you should be able to pinpoint your position on a chart. Within a few minutes you will have your position plotted and a new course planned, timings assessed, depths checked and continue home safely without your companions ever knowing that you had a minor problem.
Mendez Marine offer a range of short, one day or two day, skill building and refresher courses aimed at Motor and Power boaters. These courses are un-certificated, there is no assessment or exam to pass. You can pose real or theoretical situations that relate to problems that you may have experienced or just go with the flow and leave at the end of the course, hopefully, having learnt something new. Our class sizes are always small so you benefit greatly from the relaxed atmosphere smaller numbers generate.