Clyde Holscher has come up with a nickname for the seminar he will lead at the Kansas City Boat and Sportshow this weekend.
“How many times does a guy buy a boat and he’s a real newbie,” said Holscher, a fishing guide from Topeka. “He loads the kids and the dog into the boat, and he has his wife back him in.
“Well, she has trouble and it turns into a real screamfest. Others are waiting to launch and they’re frustrated, and it turns into a negative experience.”
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Holscher, Steve Ortiz and John Price want to help. Not just the women, but the men as well.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association, which runs the Kansas City show, wanted to put something together for first-time boaters — a get-down-to-basics course that would help beginners before they hit the water.
Holscher, Ortiz and Price brainstormed and came up with a three-step seminar they named “You Bought a Boat: Now What? From Land to Water.”
The course instructors, avid boaters, have experienced the need for such training first-hand.
Ortiz will present a power-point program, with one of the parts entitled “Don’t Be This Guy,” along with photos of submerged tow vehicles, boats floating free and other ramp mishaps.
The instructors don’t want to sound judgmental. They realize that many beginners don’t know the basics of how to act at the ramp. That’s why they came up with the course.
“I remember the day when we were waiting to launch at Clinton Lake,” said Ortiz, who lives in Lawrence. “A couple of guys had just pulled their boat out, and they were taking forever to put things up. Instead of pulling into the parking lot and putting things away, they were blocking the only lane of the ramp that was open.
“Finally, my friend said, “One of them must be named Clinton.” I asked why and he said, “Because they’re acting like they own the lake.’ ”
That’s one of the basics that will be covered in the seminar.
▪ Step 1: Towing Checklist: Are You Ready? This portion will guide new-boat owners through the licensing and titling process, and will help them with the basics on trailers, hitches, coupler locks and more.
▪ Step 2: Behind the Wheel: A Hands-On Experience. Seminar participants will get behind the wheel of a tow vehicle in a parking lot and learn how to back a trailer down a ramp.
▪ Step 3: Ramp Etiquette. Participants will learn the dos and don’ts at the ramp. They will learn how to get their boat into the water as quickly as possible, so they don’t create delays and long lines of others waiting to launch.
To experienced boaters, this might sound simple. But Becca Doyle, director of the Kansas City Boat and Sportshow, thinks there is a need for basic instruction on getting new boaters started.
“We had boat dealers who expressed the need for something like this,” she said. “First-time boat owners want to learn about how to get started, and this is a good way for them to get started.”
A special feature will be a women’s-only session at 1 p.m. Saturday. Erika Brooks, boating education coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, will lead that seminar.
Other sessions, open to men and women, will be 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday. Class size is limited to 12 per session, and pre-registration is required. Participants can register online at KansasCitySportshow.com. There is a charge of $24 per person, which includes show admission and giveaways.
The Kansas City Boat and Sportshow
▪ WHEN/WHERE: Thursday through Sunday at Bartle Hall.
▪ HOURS: 2 to 9 p.m. Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
▪ TICKETS: $12 for adults, with children ages 15 and under admitted free.