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Thread: Jet boat beginner

  1. #1
    Member Deak's Avatar
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    Exclamation Jet boat beginner

    I bought a used jet boat this winter. This is my first river boat and I don't have any experience operating a jet boat. I figure I will get many hours under my belt at big lake before hitting the rivers.

    Which river and boat launch would be a good place to start once I am ready? Which areas should I avoid?

    When I get stuck ( and I will many times ) what type of equipment is best to bring to get unstuck? Winch? come-a-long?

    Any other recommendations?

  2. #2

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    What kind of boat did you buy? That would be helpful when answering your questions.

    The lower Knik would be a good beginners river. I learned to drive an airboat on that river, and the Jim Creek flats definitely aided in my development of water depth perception. Knik is fairly wide, the water for the most part it is consistently deep right smack in the middle of the river, there is not a lot of traffic, and the water isnít rough. But the one skill I found to be the most helpful was the ability to read water. Where are the deep spots, shallow spots, rocky areas, and stumps, etc etc.

    Also become familiar with how the boat will react in every situation. I have a ton of hours in airboats and after a few years I was unconsciously reacting to every situation appropriately. Now I have to get used to a jet boat I bought last fall.

  3. #3
    Member lab man's Avatar
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    Where do you plan on boating? You can't get good until you spend MANY hours on the rivers just messing around. Usually the best equiptment to get unstuck is hipboots, a partner, 2-4's, and logs as rollers. Be carefull making turns. A lot of times people will make tight turns in their jet boats and get water over the inside corner and swamp the boat. Trial and error man, trial and error.

    -Eric

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    I was in your shoes last spring.

    Lower Knik is where I first got to play. Then Finger and Big Lake. I suggest going on a lake and cutting squares in the water. Learn how your boat handles/slides etc. Learn that you cannot steer without the power on!!

    I just got a rope-a-long for tough stucks. My boat is not heavy though. We usually just all get out and push it inch by inch until it floats. Then we walk it to deeper water. I have not 'beached it' yet though.

    We will see you out there. I will be on the nearest open water as soon as it is open.

    Mike

  5. #5
    Member Deak's Avatar
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    Default 2003 Aurora with sportjet 175

    [Water_Gremlin]"What kind of boat did you buy? That would be helpful when answering your questions. "

    It is a 2003 Aurora with sportjet 175. The "aurora" is the mining and diving version of the Boulton Boats "Sport series" with a forward helm. The previous owner told me he routinely ran it in 5 or 6 inches of water with no problems.

  6. #6
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Congrats on your new boat!

    They're a great way to explore Alaska.

    I always carry a spare impeller(+shims/shaft key/lock washers), some spare bolts and a spare water pump impeller, a spare danforth anchor (for two tie off points), a come-along, two 50 foot lengths of 5/16 steel cable with end loops and a few steel carabiners. A shovel is helpful at times too so I carry a GI entrenching tool.

    The trick is avoiding getting stuck to begin with, which means reading water. Clear water is easier of course but the way water behaves with regard to obstacles is universal. The movement of the surface water tells you how deep it if you know what to look for.

    Some general rules for river running:
    -The outside of the bend is deepest
    -Glassy smooth water is usually deep
    -Tight, choppy surface ripples usually means shallow water
    -Smooth, stationary mounds or bumps means large rocks or logs
    -Out of place slicks of flat water usually means a log just below the surface.
    -When entering or exiting side channels or tributary creeks DO NOT turn too early. Find the current seam of the two flows and follow that--this usually means swinging down stream
    -You have more control running against the current than with
    -You get on step faster in a turn
    -Always have your anchor ready to drop
    -You can run across much shallower water than you can get going in, so if you're pushing farther upstream than you've ever been before be careful about where you stop

    Remember downriver boats have right of way. If unsure which way to go indicate with arm gestures and move.

    Getting familiar with your boat on the lake is a good idea but before you head out on the river two things: 1) practice launching/recovering your boat by yourself BEFORE heading to a busy launch like Deshka and 2) take your jet unit apart at home and get familiar with it--you will eventually find yourself on a gravel bar somewhere fixing something (and tie lanyards to ALL your tools)

    (there were no other replies when I began my slooow typing)

  7. #7
    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    Default

    You may have been slow in your typing but you gave some very good advice for anyone to think about.

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    Member Deak's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks Erik that was more information than I had hoped for.

    You hit a good point about learning to launch and recover somewhere that isn't busy. Any other boating etiquette I should be aware of before hitting the busy rivers? I don't want to start off by annoying the boaters I will be seeing on the rivers regularly.

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    Does anyone have a winch mounted to the front of their boats? I have a 20ft Jon (similar to a Sea Ark) with a 90 Yamaha Jet. I was considering a cheap 2000lb winch for the bow.

  10. #10
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Default Winches

    I guy helped me out last year that had a winch seup up to mount on the bow of his boat. He used an atv/truck winch, and what he did was have a standard truck hitch receiver welded onto the front of his boat, then the winch plugs into it when needed. I looked into this, as well as other options. The reason I went away from this and to manual come-alongs was that there draw heavy current, and if you boat is grounded out hard then you will not be able to run your motor (no cooling) to charge the batteries. AIH has some pretty stout come-alongs.

  11. #11
    Member Jimw's Avatar
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    Water time, Water time, Water time...... Most of the rivers are dirty so you will have to learn to read the water. Take some one with you as I did since last year my first with a jet boat. I maybe going against the grain here but following wasnt all that bad as long as you leave enough space for the water it fill back in and think why did they go where they went. I probably did drive my buddy nuts with questions, but he was understanding enough to explain his lines to me. I ran the Kenai and the ocean for years but an inboard jet and Susitna drainage was a whole different animal!!

  12. #12
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Along with the excellent advice given above, create yourself a tool box and parts box. Extra nuts, bolts, shims, impeller nut (in case you drop one in the Big Su).

    Go to the local boat shop and pick up the instruction manual about Jests. It gives you step by step instructions on how to care and maintain your jet unit. For instance the proper way to insert your water pumpís impeller.

    Then go have fun! Be careful in tight turns as you will spin yourself around. Also learn your throttle. Over speed (Air and no water) is bad on reed valves.

    Getting on step faster by turning! Now that is something I didn't know. You learn something all the time.

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
    1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
    MMSI# 338131469
    Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/

  13. #13

    Default Run at low flows

    Running at lower flows helps you to see the main channel better and know where it is when the water comes up. Also lay a snail trail or save a track on your GPS to mark the places you have been. Then you just need to keep track of water levels from your last trip.

    Go slow if you are exploring....you won't get stuck near as hard.

  14. #14
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    Smile I'm new as well!

    I'm new as well, and have done everything that is mentioned above, except getting that jet manual, I'm not sure where to find one. Marita didn't have any when I was in there last. a few other things I added to my tool kit was a saw to cut alders down and put under the boat to "slide" it off a bar WHEN i mess up. Another thing I got was a sea anchor to help pull me off the bar. Got it off Ebay for $30. Just remember tohave a way to deflate it when you finally get off. I also went to BJ commercial and picked up a 600' spool of 1/2 inch rope and the AIH rope winch. Anyway.keep the help coming, us newbies need all the advice we can get!

    I ended up with a 2003 wooldridge sport with a 150 opti jet on it. Still customizing it to my liking.

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    For those with outboard jets, do you "disconnect" or "release" you trim and tilt so when you hit the motor kicks up? My old jet did not have t&t and would kick up when I slid across some mud bars in the night, it seemed to work pretty well.
    I have a new 90 jet with t&t and I am thinking of twisting the screw on the T&T to allow the motor to kick up easier when I do hit. Any thoughts?

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    Default You Betcha

    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    For those with outboard jets, do you "disconnect" or "release" you trim and tilt so when you hit the motor kicks up? My old jet did not have t&t and would kick up when I slid across some mud bars in the night, it seemed to work pretty well.
    I have a new 90 jet with t&t and I am thinking of twisting the screw on the T&T to allow the motor to kick up easier when I do hit. Any thoughts?

    My sixty Yamaha has t & t on it, but my optimum pitch is not at dead low. These motors don't come with a pin for trim but you can make one out of aluminum rod in about 20 minutes. (use a rasp to clean out the slag in the holes on the motor) Just drill a hole for a snap pin on each side of the rod. I run a lot of lakes to a river to a lake to a river here so when I approach a river, I lift the motor slightly, put pin in place, lower til it's close, then open the release valve. If you hit with the motor locked, you will do exponentially more damage...then again, if it's a 150 Honda that weights 500 pounds...it's probably less helpful. This also works when you KNOW you are gonna get skinny. The time you take to release the trim can save you a long float home and costly repairs.

    The best tip I have that hasn't been said above is that you need to keep a little throttle "just in case". Since a jet turns best under acceleration, keep yourself just above step or at 3/4 throttle and save that little extra goose for that skinny bar or that tight turn. If you run full out, you will not be as maneuverable.

    Have fun, jetboating is about as good as it gets.

    Oh, and don't run the eddies, no matter how hard the rollers may be poundin you....slack water hides nasty nasty things. Moving water telegraphs the danger.

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    Thanks Catch It, that is exactly what I was thinking. I hit some shallow silt bars running at night and most of the time I skim over them and the motor kicks up no big deal. My new motor has T&T and I was going to release the T&T just as you described. I didn't think about the motor not having a rod to rest on, I will build one as you described! Thx

  18. #18
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    Default outboard question

    can I do this with my 2003 merc 150 opti with t+t? how do you release the t+t?

  19. #19
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    There should be a screw on one side or the other of the T&T mounting bracket. On Yamaha's there is a hole int he side of the "bracket" and a flat head screw a couple inches inside it. Loosen it up and you will relieve the pressure. I am not exactly sure where the screw is on Merc's but it's gotta be down there somewhere. Either way it is good to know where it is. I have had mine break before and I needed to get my motor up for trailering. It also allows you to lift the motor up if so some reason you don't have battery power. I lift smaller motors (50hp) a 150 by hand is probably a different story.

  20. #20
    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    my little jet boat (13 ft) is very heavy (1400#) so i have lots of get unstuck stuff. mine will run in 1-2 " of water ....... a few times in no water this will be my 5th year running jet boat still learning and changing how i do things but it all a blast..... mine is such a proformer makes me look good. this boat would be scarey in skilled hands.
    stuff to get unstuck or get boat on shore to get rocks out of jet unit.

    high lift jack
    rope come along
    2 -1" solid steel rods 4 ft. long to drive in ground with sledge hammer(small one) to attach on to for winching.
    3-4 blocks of wood
    last year added 4 scrap pieces of schedule 80 pvc sewer pipe worth their wt. in gold.
    100 rope and large custom built sea anchor
    shovel
    hoe
    bow saw
    atv winch (costco $50.)
    camera to take pictures to show us how bad you were stuck

    other items: tools, spark plugs, spare oil, spare gas. two anchors. ( had wolf chew an anchor line and try to carry 12lb plastic anchor off, if i had only one anchor the boat would have 2 oars and a push pole with duck foot
    i have a sleeping bag in a 6 gallon sealed plastic bucket that always travels with me. spare clothes in dry bag are nice also.
    first aid kit
    tarp
    my jet boat runs alot different in deep water. it does better in shallow water. i would think little su ( up stream ) would be a good place to practice esp before fish get in there.

    i wear life jacket all the time. usually float coat type
    and have 2 sets of ski goggles tinted lensi carry one set is really dark lens.....nothing worse than sun in your eyes reflecting off water...."which way do i go"
    for christmas i got a mask - "save phace" i think it i going to be very nice for keeping wind, cold and bugs off. has built in lens that come in different colors
    good luck , be safe, have fun -pat
    RETIRED U.S.A.F. CAPT.; LIFETIME MEMBER NRA; LIFETIME MEMBER ALASKA BOWHUNTER ASSOC.
    MASTER BOWHUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR; MEMBER UNITED BLOOD TRACKERS; POPE & YOUNG MEASURER

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