MasterCraft urges all who will be operating the boat to seek certified instruction from the local boating authorities.
Loading the Boat
Never overload the boat. The maximum weight capacity as listed on the certification plate includes all items added to the boat (including persons and gear). Proper distribution of weight is critical to boat performance. Allocate the load as evenly as possible. The maximum weight capacity includes filled, factory installed ballast tanks and/or ballast bags, as well as any added by the customer.
Always respect the rights of others on the water. Keep wide when passing, slow down in crowded areas, be alert and be aware of your wake and wash.
First Time Operation
When taking to the water for the first time, you must keep in mind a few general guidelines:
Practice makes perfect! Start in calm water with no wind or current and plenty of room until you get the feel for the boat and its controls.
Proceed slowly! Give yourself time to think, react and maneuver.
Recognize outside forces! Check the wind direction and velocity, as well as water currents and waves.
Have a crew on hand! Have friends or family ready with fenders, lines and a boat hook to assist you when docking, as well as launching and loading.
Remember that a boat is not an automobile! Boats cannot be maneuvered and stopped like a car. Boats steer from the stern (rear) and have no brakes.
Steering response is dependent upon three (3) factors: rudder position, motion and throttle. While cruising speed maneuvering is relatively easy and takes little practice, slow-speed maneuvering is far more difficult and requires time and practice to master.
With both steering and propulsion at the rear of the boat, the initiation of a turn pushes the stern of the boat away from the direction of the turn. The stern follows a larger turning circle than the bow. This is especially important to remember when making maneuvers within close quarters.
While the effects of unequal propeller thrust (torque steering), wind, and current may not always be present, a practiced driver will use them to his/her advantage.
Unequal thrust is a phenomenon shared by all single-engine, propeller- driven boats. With the rudder in the straight-ahead position, a counterclockwise rotation propeller tends to cause the boat to drive to port when going forward, and to starboard when going backward.
At high speed, there is compensation for this effect, so that unequal thrust is virtually non-existent. But, at slow speed and especially during backing the effect can be very pronounced. This is the main reason that most experienced drivers approach with the dock to the starboard side of the boat.
Stopping or checking headway is a technique that must be mastered. With no brakes, reverse must be used to stop the boat. The momentum of the boat will vary according to the load. Make it a practice to slow to in no-wake speed before shifting into reverse.
When practicing maneuvering techniques, always do so in open water that is free of traffic. Adequate practice may make the difference between a pleasurable boating experience or a potentially damaging (at the very least, embarrassing) one.