How to do a three point turn with Alistair McGlashan

Al McGlashan explains how to do a three point turn in a trailer boat.
Al McGlashan: When it comes to driving a boat, maneuvering it in tight spots, it can be very daunting, but I'm gonna show you a few little tricks to make it really easy. And even in a tight spot like this, we can turn a boat this size around on its own shape.

In the scenario like this, if you need to turn the boat around, say it's rough off shore, or you're not comfortable going in reverse, you can actually turn it around in a tight spot doing a three-point turn.

So the first thing you must understand, and this is, be aware of your surroundings. So, you've got tide, wind, other boats. But more importantly, the depth. That's critical. So you need to be conscious that it's shallow in there, it's shallow up there, that's something that's very important.

And I'm just turning the wheel slightly. Out of gear, reversing and turning the wheel at the same time. So you'll start bringing the boat round. Pull the boat out of gear while you've still got full lock on the wheel. Then, turn the wheel the other way, and then touch it in gear. And you'll find you'll actually start turning the boat. Pull it out of gear into neutral. All you do is just in gear, out of gear. You don't have to rev it at any stage. Out of gear, you're still turning. What I'm doing is I'm spinning the wheel the other way, and I'm turning the boat. Out of gear. So I'm just conscious there's a wharf there on the corner. I want to go forward a touch.

So now you can see I've actually turned the boat, which I've got six and a half meters of boat, basically, around in its own length, and I'm now facing the other way.

Even a boat like this, six and a half meters, you can turn it round a tight little spot like that on top of itself. Just in gear, spin the wheel hard, out of gear, turn it. Just in and out of gear, and you'll find that you'll keep turning it. You don't need a 3-point turn, you can do it in a 5-6-point turn. Forward turn, and you'll just edge the boat around.

The key is when you do it, just do it slowly. In and out of gear. Use the throttle and the steering in sequence, so it's in and out of gear, turn the throttle, touch it, it'll turn the boat naturally.

Now, we get nervous doing things like this, particularly at a boat ramp, so people are watching, but, the only way you'll get better is by practicing.

And, probably just one other little point. While you're practicing, if you are in those tight confines, get someone down there to support you, so if you do go too close to a wharf, too close to the edge, they can help fend you off and make the whole job a little bit easier, and that way, you'll have better boating.

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