House Boating 101 on Lake Powell
“I’ve ridden on a boat,” said one of the “students” as we went around the room (or cabin) introducing ourselves and discussing our boating experience. Yes, this was a boating class, but not your typical boating class you might do at your local marina. Rather, this was Houseboating 101, delivered by our boat captain Maggie, on Lake Powell. A few hours later and everyone on the boat would (or at least should) have what they need to pilot a 75-foot houseboat like the one we were on.
It’s only appropriate that a lake as extraordinary as Lake Powell would have something as unique as a houseboating course, the first of its kind in the U.S.
What’s so unordinary about Lake Powell? Well most of the terrain looks more like a planet in outer space than U.S. landscape. Which is exactly why it was a filming location for Planet of the Apes (the Charlton Heston version). It also has more shoreline than the entire Pacific Coast and is also home to nearly 100 different canyons, many of which are only accessible by boat.
Lake Powell’s intro to houseboating course is really for those who have little to no experience piloting a boat. However, even those who have boating experience, but have never piloted a houseboat should try it, since driving a motorboat and driving a 75-foot houseboat are two different things
The bulk of the course takes place on one of Lake Powell’s staple houseboats (Lake Powell is one of the largest houseboating lakes in the world, with over 30,000 annual houseboat rentals). The course begins at Wahweap Marina, just down the street from Lake Powell Resort, near Page Arizona. This is the central part of the lake, close to the famous Glen Canyon Dam. Students get the full house boat tour from a captain, who goes through every part of the houseboat that you could ever think of (and wouldn’t think of), from how to turn the generator on, to how to access the gas tanks, to how operate the grill, to how to start the ignition and get to the fun part.
Once guests are comfortable with the safety and controls of the boat, the captain starts the hands-on instruction part of the course that takes people through the entire houseboating experience, from starting the ignition, to returning to dock. Each guest will get their own hand at this, rather than just having to watch, without being able to practice. Yes, you will have to watch every single person start the ignition. And it’s not as easy as you may think!
From here, guests will follow the captain’s instruction and lead through each and every part of houseboating, even parts of it that they may never actually do, such as towing a small motorboat. This includes pushing back from the dock, parking, reversing, navigating, beaching, and anchoring. You’ll even get some practice piloting a powerboat. This was my favorite part. As much as I love the houseboating experience, I have a need for speed!
Additional features of the course include a two-night stay at Lake Powell Resort (think hotel), daily breakfast for two, and box lunch for two aboard the houseboat. All this for $299. Stick around for a couple extra days and rent your own houseboat, or come back another weekend with your new-found skil
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