How to deal with big seas with Alistair McGlashan

Al McGlashan shares his best tips for boating in big seas. He covers speed, steering and throttle control, weather conditions, tilt and trim - and also what not to do!
Al McGlashan: When it comes to boating, dealing with big seas is something that scares a lot of people, but do it the right way and you can do it safely. It's all about your speed. Don't go too hard, but on the same note, don't go too softly. So the key is, one hand on the throttle, one hand on the steering at all times. What you don't wanna do is that because you can't control your speed. Oh, watch it, because of that. See how I slowed down, perfectly timed.

Now if I had both hands on there, on a big wave, I'd just launch off it or I go to slow and get swamped. So at all times, one hand on the throttle, one hand on the steering wheel. So as you go up the wave like that, just pull off as you go down and that will give you a much smoother ride. So if you're running into the sea and you want to turn around, you need to pick the conditions. What I need to do is look in front of me, read the weather, see a break in the swells 'cause it's the same everywhere.

There'll be bigger ones and then the set will break through and then, turn quickly before the next wave. Now I'm going down sea. Now it's a totally different style. So now my biggest problem is the wave will pick me up and push me down. So again, one hand on the throttle, one hand on the steering wheel and I can accelerate a bit more 'cause I'm gonna get a slightly smoother run, but you can see I'm digging into the back of the wave there. You can use your tilt and trim.

So with mine, when I'm running into the sea, I trim it down, but when I'm going with the sea, I actually like to trim it up. Experiment with it to see what suits your boat to give you the smoothest ride and the driest ride. Know your boat's ability, know your own ability as a skipper and you'll always be safe and if in doubt, go and spend some time on your boat. Just experiment, test it and see how you go 'cause your confidence will grow and you'll play it safe at sea