Tag Archives: Helm

Junior Captain in Training – by Ronan

Last week after a nice long hike behind the Rain Forest Café, in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia, I was thrilled to learn that I was going to have the opportunity to captain and command our Sea Ray 480 motor yacht from Capella Marina, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia, to Rodney Bay Marina, Rodney Bay, St Lucia (with appropriate supervision of course)!

Ryan, Theresa and Ronan, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

Ryan, Theresa and Ronan, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia (spot Pilots’ Discretion)

While driving a boat, you do not just put it on autopilot and hope that you arrive at your destination before sunset. You have to be on high alert, at all times, for what is around you, including being on the lookout for other vessels, fishing pots, and shoals. You have to always be paying attention to your electronics and navigational instruments.

On the trip to Rodney Bay, according to our Automated Identification System (AIS) and the radar, I was on a potential collision course with a sailing vessel. Using Randy’s wise advice which was “don’t hit anything,” I switched from autopilot to standby which allowed me to control the vessel manually. After using two of the most important gadgets on board, which are the wheel and the throttles, I managed to get a safe distance away from the sailing vessel.

Pilots' Discretion Track from Marigot Bay to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Pilots’ Discretion Track from Marigot Bay to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Only a couple of nautical miles from Rodney Bay, with the help of my lookouts, who were my Mom and my brother Ryan, we located and avoided some fishing pots. When we got to Rodney Bay we hovered just before the channel entrance to the marina so that the crew could get the lines and fenders ready for docking. Finally, we safely docked at Rodney Bay Marina.

Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia

IGY Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia

With a lot of practice, time, and dedication, learning how to drive a boat is not as hard as you may think. In my opinion, captaining the boat from Marigot Bay to Rodney Bay in St. Lucia was one of the coolest experiences ever.