On the weekend, I collected my boat, which I have named the OPV Jollyfish. (OPV= Outboard Powered Vessel) . The vendor, a boatbuilder, has replaced some carburettor parts, installed a fixed flat deck (necessary for my stability at sea due to my sea-legs no longer having sea-knees) and sacrificial anodes as per our agreement at purchase. He took his time – but no hurry eh?
In the meantime I had been getting a valid Queensland boat driving licence and registering the vessel. In Queensland, as in all states (but not the territory), one must have a marine licence to operate a boat that has an engine power greater than 4.5kW. That’s about 6 Hp.
And the boat must be registered, unless it is used only as a tender to a registered vessel. Which is why the Jollyfish had not hitherto already been registered. She is now. To the Queensland government she is now ANZ76Q. I thought the ANZ was quite appropriate. Some might say the Q is too. If I think about it, 76 might be the age to which I hope to continue boating.
Yesterday I put the 200mm high letters on the sides as the law requires. I did not paint her name on the bow. Instead I stencilled a picture of a jollyfish. Much cooler.
Before I can sail off into the wild blue yonder to catch flatheads and whiting and crabs, and to take photographs of dugongs and seabirds, I set myself some little practical tests. No one should put to sea even in a sheltered bay unless they are physically up to any task reasonably likely to be required.
In retrospect, perhaps I should have found a way to perform these tests before I paid my money, but I am not always as clever as I should be.
The tests involve satisfying myself that I can undertake some basic but very necessary physical actions unassisted, all alone by myself, without any help from anyone else.
- Lift the outboard off the boat
- Put it back
- Climb into and out of the boat while it is on the trailer.
- Pull the boat and trailer across a short distance of sand.
- Lift the boat and trailer from the ground to put it on the tow ball without the support of a jockey wheel. (I even did this with the caravan, though in that instance it involved the use of a jack, not my back).
- Back the boat and trailer into the narrow gap between my caravan and the next.
All the above… Tick. Yesterday.
Already done while checking her out prepurchase:
- Climb in and out from the shore. (Don’t laugh. I was genuinely concerned about this).
- Start the motor
- Drive the boat
- Launch and retrieve on a boat ramp.
The next I shall need to undertake while the boat is anchored and also tied to a tree or jetty pile on shore. That is, climb into the boat from deep water, ie where I can not touch the bottom. Naturally, without capsizing. If I cannot do that, I shall have to swim ashore, pull her in, and sell her. I believe it is important to know I can do this. There are any number of reasons I may have to enter the water from the boat, not to mention the simple matter of falling overboard.
However, any form of cheating , such as a knotted rope to climb up, or even a rope ladder, is fair provided I make it possible at any time to do. Old age cunning is ok. If necessary, I’ll have the end of a rope dangling over the bow at all times I’m in tn the boat. I may even make a rope ladder to roll up and tie with small stuff so I can undo it from the water and pull myself up. Logically, climbing over the bow would be the most stable way to get back on board.
I shall practice. I bought some rope suitable for making a ladder, and I’m learning how.
Today was to be my sea trials, the day to test myself on this. However. This morning the wind came up and my weather app says thunderstorms are coming. It is not a boating day. To be honest, I’m not all that sorry. My land-trials yesterday, though successfully completed, left me very sore.