VIDEO: Small boat, big waves

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This video makes a good argument for intelligence testing being linked to mandatory boat operator licensing.

The video caption asks about what happens to the guy in the bow, but the real problem here — the root cause of his being at risk of drowning — is the fellow driving the boat.

Click play to watch.

Confining my comments to the boat, however, yields the following observations:

• Breaking surf is no place for an open-bow boat to be voluntarily. Whatever you ship over the bow ends up in the boat.

• The larger the scuppers, the faster the deck will drain.

• Keeping the bow of the boat within 20 degrees of the wave front at impact, which requires maintaining steerageway, reduces your chances of capsizing.

• The more responsive the steering, the better. Three or four turns lock to lock are way better than six or seven. An outboard or sterndrive with tight steering is much more agile than an inboard or jetboat at this sort of low-speed play. A sterndrive (three or four turns) is much better than an outboard (five to seven turns), all else being equal.

• Among inboards, big rudders are much better than little rudders.

• Speeding up as you meet breaking waves increases the amount of water you’ll ship aboard.

• If they had been a boat length or two closer to the second wave in this video, when they were 20 degrees from being beam to the wave, they likely would have capsized.

• Turning away from the wave slightly as the boat climbs the crest reduces the violence of the descent on the back side.

• Keep people out of the bow because downward accelerations can exceed 1g. That’s why the guy in the bow on this boat went airborne.

• The console or helm area should have plenty of rails to hold on to between waist and chest level, creating angles at which your arms have the most strength.

• More freeboard is better at keeping the ocean out of the boat.

• So there’s something to hold on to when it’s over, being in an unsinkable boat is better than being in an easily sunk boat.