Dean Horgan, the Dealer Principal of R Marine Flagship, had a simple ambition when he launched a ladies-only boating course at his Auckland dealership – to empower his owners to enjoy their time even more on the water.
View R Marine Flagship’s Women on Water course Video 0:58min duration
If Kerry Aldworth is any indication, he’s well and truly succeeded.
“It’s totally worked for me,” said the owner of Born to Run, the Riviera 57 Flybridge she enjoys with partner Larry Binns.
“I was reasonably comfortable boating before the course but my confidence to operate the boat has skyrocketed since and Larry has been more confident to pass me the reins.
“He wanted me to learn about boat handling but didn’t want to be the teacher. Thanks to Dean and his awesome team, he didn’t have to.”
Kerry is one of more than 30 ladies who have completed R Marine Flagship’s Women on Water (WOW) course since it launched earlier this year.
Two courses have been held thus far, with the ladies coming together one night a week for several weeks at the dealership’s on-water sales arena in Auckland to upskill their seamanship.
“One thing I didn’t want to do was water down the content,” Dean said.
“I wanted to make it as relevant as we could, along with providing a hands-on, interactive experience the ladies could relate to their own boat or situation. We want them to not only know what to do in an emergency but embrace their Riviera on a day-to-day basis.
“On the very first night, we had five Rivieras that were less than two years old lined up in the marina with their lights on and a R Marine Flagship professional on each. We then broke the ladies into small groups on each boat and by the end of the night they were mooring them in the marina on their own.
“That’s pretty impressive considering some of them admitted they had limited knowledge of their boat operation or equipment onboard.”
It was also a shock for some of the participants.
“I was very surprised to learn we were going out on the water on the first two nights,” said Barbara Townshend, who is looking to upgrade their Riviera after recently selling the 47 Enclosed Flybridge she and husband Gary have owned since 2008.
“I was always comfortable with Gary skippering but I had limited knowledge or confidence to skipper myself. I should have done a lot more over the years but it was too easy to leave things to Gary.
“I initially wanted to get more confidence and knowledge to be able to handle our boat if he was unable to but I’ve found the course has now inspired me to get out on the water more to practise.”
Course content included boat driving tuition, leaving and docking marina berths, anchoring, knots, boat rafting and buoys and beacons.
The ladies also studied basic navigation, depth sounders and VHF with experts from marine electronics supplier Electronic Navigation Ltd, while another evening saw trained medics from Oceania Medical Ltd discuss first aid at sea and how to react in an emergency such as a partner suffering a heart attack.
“It was amazing to watch the transformation of the ladies unfold,” said Suzie Eade, Dean’s partner in business and life.
“From what may have been a potentially stressful situation, they soon felt empowered because they had just berthed a luxury motor yacht half a dozen times on their own.
“We are now planning a level two course that will be more in-depth for those who have already completed a level one course, giving owners the opportunity to continue to build their knowledge within a relaxed environment.
“We hosted a final night dinner with the ladies and their partners and during the evening we had requests from some of the men for similar courses as they were so impressed with the skills and knowledge their partners had received from the experience.”
The next four-week Women on Water course will be held from October 23 to November 13. For more information and bookings, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or +61 9 302 2511.