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What age would you let your kid take the boat out with their friends?

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  • What age would you let your kid take the boat out with their friends?

    I have a soon to be 18 year old son (birthday is tomorrow - March 24th). He has had his boater's licence for about 4 years now. He has driven the boat many times with me in it but I have never let him take it out by himself. The boat is moored at our local marina, about 8 miles from our house, and sits in a covered slip on a boat lift. He has never taken the boat off the lift nor put it back on the lift. He is going away to college in the fall and wants to be able to take the boat out with his friends this upcoming summer. For the most part, he is very responsible but like most 18 year boys, he has his "idiot" moments.

    I plan on working with him this spring so he becomes proficient in taking the boat on and off the lift, docking it and knowing where all the safety stuff is and how to use it.

    Just curious what other people in my situation have done.

    This boat sits on Lake Washington in the Seattle area. It is a rather large lake and can get rough (they call it Lake Washingmachine) during the summer on a Saturday or Sunday.
    Last edited by prostar205; 03-23-2018, 12:26 PM.
    2002, X30, L-18, Red Metal Flake (the possessed boat)

  • #2
    Ive been taking our boats out alone since I was about 15. Ive been boating my whole life, and my parents never really drove the boat if I was there anyways. Im 23 now, and they still prefer it that way.

    I would have him nail docking. that is the only hesitation I would have, especially in the wind or "washing machine" conditions. especially with other 18 year olds in the boat, things can definitely get hectic. Youre on the right track, and it sounds like you have the bases covered.
    Aric


    LONE STAR MASTERBASH 2022
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    • #3
      Booze cruise for sure


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      1991 MasterCraft Prostar 190 Perfect Pass Stargazer w/zbox, gt40p heads, Acme 541, Edelbrock performer intake, mallory ylm ignition.

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      • #4
        I agree with Aric, make sure you are comfortable with him handling the boat around the marina in all situations. I let my son take our boat out at 18 with his friends, but he was doing most of the driving since he was 16 and I trust him that he will be responsible and he can handle the docking safely. We even had an emergency plan (alternative docking location) in case the weather was too windy for him to feel comfortable docking the boat himself into our slip.
        - Andrew

        2015 MasterCraft X-20 (current)
        2009 MasterCraft X-2 (sold)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tatronation View Post
          Booze cruise for sure

          I only thought that happened in Wisconsin?!?

          I'm 100% sure if prostar caught his son drinking on the boat, his son loose the opportunity for life. But if he is as he describes him, he's son is too smart to be stupid. However, I'm sure they'll have a discussion about that before the keys are handed over.
          Hello, my name Ryan!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by barefoot View Post
            I only thought that happened in Wisconsin?!?

            I'm 100% sure if prostar caught his son drinking on the boat, his son loose the opportunity for life. But if he is as he describes him, he's son is too smart to be stupid. However, I'm sure they'll have a discussion about that before the keys are handed over.
            If this was even a remote concern, I doubt this thread wouldve even been started.
            Aric


            LONE STAR MASTERBASH 2022
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            • #7
              As a bunch of 17-22 year olds in college we did everything for our team boat (2002 ProStar) at a marina and never had an issue, as long as you get him good at taking the boat in and out of the marina and slip and have him give his friends a run down on how to be a good crew, I don't see any problem with that. You could always give him a nice stern "you break it, you bought it" conversation as well, I know that's something my dad would've done.
              Tim
              Ohio State Engineering - Go Bucks
              1998 MC MariStar 225VRS
              1995 MC ProStar 205

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              • #8
                I was good with my daughters driving at 16+ with cousins by themselves. Now, our lake is smaller than Lake Washington and I've heard it can get pretty busy out there. It all depends on your comfort level and his maturity.

                I was driving our big boat (Cobalt) as a kid, probably around 13 or 14...but that was a different time. Again, your comfort level.

                I was the main person that drove our boat though, as a kid. I even trumped my older siblings...I was usually the driver because I enjoyed it so much!

                In college, I promised my mom that I would polish her boat up real nice and do some detailing for her. In exchange, I was able to keep the boat down at college (WSU Pullman) during a summer school session. Let's just say, that was a blast to have down there with a lot of friends!
                - Jeff

                1994 205, LT1

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                • #9
                  I allowed my 17 year old son to spend a week last summer at our lakehouse with full use of all the toys. I was very impressed with the care of everything minus a small scratch in a jetski. But as others said he has been driving and maintaining our water toys since he was 8.

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                  • #10
                    It goes on a kid by kid basis, but I was very young. I'm not even going to give an age, because most would not even understand the circumstances or upbringing.

                    The key is that the kid is comfortable and capable in all situations. If the kid is 18 and has never docked the boat before, that shows a lack of interest. In my opinion, he doesn't get the boat until he is capable of EVERYTHING and knows what to do when "sh!t hits the fan."
                    -Cameron
                    2007 ProStar 197
                    1996 ProStar 190

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                    • #11
                      I've been piloting boats without supervision since I was 15. I let my son do so at the same age with full instructions of the consequences if he did anything stupid. He's 21 now. 18 is surely old enough if he has the maturity.

                      Here is Cameron: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNv8kREhPwM

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                      • #12
                        I used to pull my dad skiing when I was 11/12.... Plus, if I remember right, the age was only for PWCs and was at 14 in North Carolina. After those pulls, he determined I could go off on my own for quick loops until I was a little older. I have been hooked ever sense. I think I also got a sense of ownership too. I took care of that boat like it was my own until I could afford my own.
                        2005 Prostar 197 w/ mini tower

                        Richmond, VA & Lake Gaston, NC

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                        • #13
                          grew up on the Chesapeake bay feeder rivers near Annapolis MD
                          I was allowed to used our 8' tender at the age of 10, but it required carrying the 2hp Johnson from the shed through the woods and down to the pier. and mount it myself. I also had to know how to mix the 2 stroke fuel and do it myself.

                          My dad made my older sister and I take a USCG power squadron class/test for the rules of the road etc..

                          By Middle school I had taken their 20' I/O and 27' Sailboat out , with and without permission.
                          We def broke a few rules, but were otherwise safe Boaters.

                          I was pulled over by the Marine Police at 12 for going to fast in a 6ph zone in a small skiff.
                          they let me go because I had every single piece of safety gear and doc in the Boat and new what everything was.

                          I also broke down, ran aground, lost Wind, paddled home, got towed home countless times before I ever reached highschool.
                          One time my parents found me adrift in a 10' SailBoat 10 miles from home just a the sun was setting. Must have been 8 pm?? I had been paddling for HOURS with the centerboard. I was too afraid to ask for help from passing boaters. I was maybe 12?

                          You will know if your kid is worthy of boating there own when they are of legal age to do so.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lashburn1 View Post
                            grew up on the Chesapeake bay feeder rivers near Annapolis MD
                            I was allowed to used our 8' tender at the age of 10, but it required carrying the 2hp Johnson from the shed through the woods and down to the pier. and mount it myself. I also had to know how to mix the 2 stroke fuel and do it myself.

                            My dad made my older sister and I take a USCG power squadron class/test for the rules of the road etc..

                            By Middle school I had taken their 20' I/O and 27' Sailboat out , with and without permission.
                            We def broke a few rules, but were otherwise safe Boaters.

                            I was pulled over by the Marine Police at 12 for going to fast in a 6ph zone in a small skiff.
                            they let me go because I had every single piece of safety gear and doc in the Boat and new what everything was.

                            I also broke down, ran aground, lost Wind, paddled home, got towed home countless times before I ever reached highschool.
                            One time my parents found me adrift in a 10' SailBoat 10 miles from home just a the sun was setting. Must have been 8 pm?? I had been paddling for HOURS with the centerboard. I was too afraid to ask for help from passing boaters. I was maybe 12?

                            You will know if your kid is worthy of boating there own when they are of legal age to do so.
                            Nice post Larry.

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                            • #15
                              In reading all of these replies you know that we are all interested in boating, care for boats, and general safety of others on the water. I've been on the water my entire life and took the old SeaDoo out when I was 11 while my parents watched from the shore (mostly). I drove our old I/O solo since I was 12 with friends in the boat. 38 years old now. You can definitely tell who has and hasn't been around water and trusted to drive.

                              My family used to sit in the 3 seasons room lakeside and watch our neighbors dock a deck boat nightly as form of entertainment. Have him coast onto the lift not drive through it! Too funny.

                              In all reality, you know if your son is ready and if he can be trusted with a very expensive piece of equipment. He needs to respect your boat and the opportunity to drive it. I had to wash, wax, vacuum, and refill the boat. Respect will go a long way.

                              But practice docking over and over, especially in the wind, it can get tough even for the most experienced driver. Plus that's where a lot of the scratches come from.

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