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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Drift Boat Rowing 101 - Part IV - Putting In and Shoving Off

Lets put some of our techniques into use and talk about the first maneuver you'll have to learn which is how to put in and shove off into the current.

Whether you're putting your boat in a river at a busy launch ramp, a primitive launch or in a portion of the river during your day, you need to know how to launch the boat properly. Most put-ins or launch sites won't present many problems, but there are instances where immediate control needs to be executed. An example of this is where the boat stops to scout a log jamb, a big rapid or large boulder garden prior to running it. This is by the way, always a good idea. There may be only one good route and rapids and obstacles show no mercy.

Sometimes pushing off can be tricky, You may find yourself with the current trying to push you into a rock garden, stump or log jamb, This is no time to panic. If you're floating down the river in a raft or drift boat, (although this first maneuver is much harder in a drift boat for the bow angler) with 2 fisherman and yourself rowing, the main focus of this method is to point the stern at a 30 to 45 degree angle to the current from the very start.

Here's the way to do it.

Getting Ready

(1) Start with the raft parallel parked on the shore. We are presuming there are two anglers and the rower.
(2) The front and rear angler will hold the boat in place and make sure it is floating and not hung up on the shore or submerged boulders.
(3) The rower will get in the rowers seat with hands on the oars and ready to back row.

Shoving Off

The next steps require good timing by as members of the boat or the boat could potentially spin immediately out of control.

(1) The stern angler pushes the rear of the boat off the shore to about a 30 to 45 degree angle across the current. This puts the boat at the correct ferrying angle so the rowers oar on the bank side can dig into the water.
(2) The stern angler quickly jumps into the rear position and sits down.
(3) Just after the stern angler pushes the boat to the ferrying angle and jumps in, the bow angler pushes the boat straight back and jumps in. The idea is to push straight back to maintain the 30 to 45 degree ferrying angle. If the bow angler waits too long to push off the stern will swing downstream. With a high sided drift boat with an uplifted bow, the bow angler must be agile enough to climb in the higher front sides.

Putting in When There Are Immediate Hazards

There are serious situations where not only does the boat need to get to the right place, but needs immediate inertia with speed built up by backrowing to miss a quickly upcoming obstacle or reach a necessary route. Establishing the correct (1) entry position (2) the correct set-up (3) the right ferrying angle (4) with enough momentum can be absolutely necessary. In these such serious situations such entries and maneuvers must be orchestrated with care and everyone needs to know their role and carry them out without error. As stated the putting in with the assistance of the two anglers is much easier when performing the angler assisted put-in with a raft. The anglers must be agile and quick to pull this off in critical situations when in a drift boat.

Option #2 - Putting In and Shoving Off by the Oarsman

In a drift boat it's may be better for the two anglers to get in the boat and to be seated. This is especially true with older and less agile anglers. It will be the rowers responsibility to handle the put in un-assisted.

Getting Ready
(1) The anchor should be raised up by the rear angler prior to moving to the rear seat. The oarsman will be holding the boat stationary.
(2) The two anglers should be in their positions and seated.
(3) The oars should either be in the water facing downstream towards the bow, or facing forward in the boat on the gunwales.

Shoving Off

(1) The rower pushes the boat off at the proper ferrying angle, about 30 degrees
(2) the rower immediately jumps into the boat.
(3) The rower takes his seat, grabs the oars and immediately starts ferrying the boat into the current.

The hardest part of this move is for the rower to jump in and maneuver around the oars and getting to the rowers seat. This is a move that should be practiced.

Putting In at a Crowded Launch or Primitive Put-In.

One suggestion for putting your boat in at a crowded launch ramp or put-in is to walk your boat downstream or in necessary upstream and get away from the crowd. This will allow you to get off in open water and not have to immediately maneuver around a crowd of boats. No one wants to have their boat rammed into at a put-in.

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Have any Questions or Comments? Let me know, Clay.