For most of us, running over the asphalt at 200-plus miles and hour in a NASCAR race is just a dream. But as a boater, you might be a lot closer to NASCAR than you think. Just consider these facts, for a moment:
1. NASCAR drivers need to have quick reflexes, and so do you. It’s all too easy to become lackadaisical during long cruises, or when running across familiar waters. You need to force yourself to keep a sharp lookout, have both hands on the wheel at all times, and remain alert. You never know when a log is going to suddenly bob up in front of the bow – and often it happens so fast there will only be seconds to react.
2. Like a race car, you run your boat’s engine at relatively high RPM for long periods of time. And, also like a race car, this means oil changes on a timely basis are imperative. It also means using the proper type of oil, as recommended by your engine’s manufacturer. Don’t skimp on this – and don’t stretch the time between changes.
3. NASCAR drivers are ALWAYS belted in. And while we may not use seat belts, there’s a safety feature we should always use… but rarely do. I’m talking about the safety shut-off lanyard. Do you clip it on all the time? Half the time? Never at all? Few boaters utilize this safety feature, but when the unexpected happens, it can save your life. Start clipping – each and every time you leave the dock.
4. All of us love speed, powerboaters and race car drivers alike. But there is such a thing as going too fast. One time when boaters often fail to pull back on the throttle is when the seas kick up enough to cause the boat to smash from wave to wave. On high-speed boats like bass boats and high-powered flats boats, combining a turn with a wave can be enough to send you rolling; you’ve got to know when enough is enough.
5. NASCAR drivers know how to eek every bit of speed our of their ride, when it’s safe to utilize it. You should, too. Leaving the Bimini top up will shave a MPH or two off of many boats. The same goes for bottom paint. Overloading on gear is another speed-killer you can address, by getting rid of unecessary items. Trimming properly is, of course, imperative to getting to your maximum speed. And if you have an aluminum prop, upgrading to stainless-steel will usually gain you a couple more MPH at top-end.