Another young boat owner in need of some help

Drew Stephens

Almost A Member
Dec 6, 2017
108
67
26
Ventura, CA
Name
Drew Stephens
Boat
Sunbird Neptune 230
Hello BD, just yesterday I picked up my new to me 23' walk around. Ive fished freshwater my whole life operating boats up to 30 feet and been out many times with friends on their boats in the ocean. This is my first ocean boat and Id like to know any tips you all recommend. First question is what is the best source for weather and swell? Thats my biggest worry is trying to find an accurate weather report. Also, what channels do I need to leave my VHF on or be monitoring? Is there a distress channel or a channel everyone stays on to talk about the local fishing or something? Ive got all the safety equipment on board to the T and I became a BoatUS gold member. Ill be launching mainly out of ventura and channel islands harbor with the occasional pull down to long beach and shoot to catalina for the weekend weather permitting. Im the type of person whos extra cautious on anything I do and if something doesnt feel right I wont do it. The boat doesnt have a hard top so there is no radar on it. It does have a brand new garmin fish finder with navionics chip which I think operates as gps? Either way first thing I'm looking to do is get a top or arch on to slap a radar in case some fog rolls through. Right now Im limiting myself to blue bird days. I was thinking for a while I should just run north or south up or down the coast to get used to the boat before shooting to anacapa. If you guys could answer any of those questions or advice for a new ocean skipper it would be much appreciated.
 
Upvote 0

Arima-bob

Ship faced aquaholic
Mar 9, 2012
5,350
4,272
Too far from water
Name
Beeulzebob
Boat
uh....
VHF channel 16 is for emergencies and monitored by the coast guard. It would be ideal to have two VHF radios with one on 16 all the time and another for talking between other boats. 72 is the general BS channel.

as for apps, I like windy.com and FishWeather. They don’t always nail it, and things can always change, but they usually get it close.

Radar is a great piece of electronics to add, and it will be a game changer once you get to learn it.

I will advise to take your boat as far as you are comfortable with. Keep to the harbor at first, and venture outside a little bit to get a feel for it. The wind always pick up more in the afternoon.
 
Upvote 0

RyanErb

Love to fish!
  • Aug 7, 2012
    1,707
    891
    All over the 805
    Name
    Ryan
    Boat
    OnTheWater
    Take a coast guard boater safety course. You might have to take the normal California boaters license course anyways. Research AIS to see tanker ships in the channel between Ventura and the Islands. Have a 'ditch' bag with a handheld VHF if crap goes wrong real quick and you end up in the water. I like sailflow for wind forecast. Wind is going to probably be your biggest enemy, and it can ruin the afternoon real quick. Always have an anchor with plenty of rope so if your boat dies you don't drift into the surf. Lots of little things, take your time and ease into it, don't get too cocky, the ocean has no sympathy!
     
    Upvote 0

    yakmandan

    Member
    May 30, 2007
    758
    917
    AZ.
    Name
    DAN
    Boat
    19ft Bayrunner Baja
    Keep a small pair of bolt cutters on the boat with easy access. Make sure they don't get rusted up. Windy app. You can find tons of info on Bloddy Decks. Take a boter safety course. Eperb or PLD
     
    Upvote 0

    Sean Dowsing

    Newbie
    Sep 25, 2015
    16
    8
    Orange County, CA
    Name
    Sean D
    Boat
    Hydra Sports
    Leave for Catalina early. Its a crappy crossing in a 23ft boat most afternoons. Did it plenty of times on my 23 though.

    When leaving Catalina back to LB, try to leave from the west end.

    Windy for weather.

    Get a PLB.

    Consider a basic two person life raft if you don't have one. It will give you piece of mind if nothing else.

    Swell period is just as important as swell height. Lots of rules of thumb on that. A common one is swell period should be at least twice the swell height.

    If you break down and it's rough, throw a sea anchor off the front to keep your boat pointed the right direction (a bucket with rope works or even a sweatshirt tied to rope)

    If you get real fancy and your a single engine, consider a little kicker motor for trolling and backup.

    If it's rough out, a harbor cruise with some cocktails and friends can be just as fun.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Derrick.Van
    Upvote 0

    mogambosquid

    Member
    Oct 31, 2004
    646
    521
    Carpinteria, CA, Chiriqui, Panama
    Name
    Greg
    Boat
    22' panga, 24' diesel inboard
    Passageweather is good for the Channel Islands. They are a more challenging zone to operate a vessel than Cat/south, especially from now through June. Don't attempt a crossing in fog w/o radar and the experience to properly use it, and if the afternoon calls for 20 kts or more of wind, stay along the coast or ashore. Any time the average wave period and height approach square (ie 4' at 4 seconds), skip it.

    Lots of good fishing running up the coast from Ventura and Santa Barbara, and always a downhill trip in the afternoon.
     
    Upvote 0
    Jan 3, 2017
    585
    405
    COSTA MESA
    Name
    Hank
    Boat
    Small raft
    I would recommend you have an adequate battery source - have a battery switch so you can alternate between batteries - a common problem is running out of juice and not being able to start your motor. Also, get a hand held VHF - good to have in case you loose power.
     
    Upvote 0

    John56434

    Idk what to name dis
    Aug 1, 2019
    281
    188
    West side
    Name
    John
    Boat
    Fishing boat
    I
    Leave for Catalina early. Its a crappy crossing in a 23ft boat most afternoons. Did it plenty of times on my 23 though.

    When leaving Catalina back to LB, try to leave from the west end.

    Windy for weather.

    Get a PLB.

    Consider a basic two person life raft if you don't have one. It will give you piece of mind if nothing else.

    Swell period is just as important as swell height. Lots of rules of thumb on that. A common one is swell period should be at least twice the swell height.

    If you break down and it's rough, throw a sea anchor off the front to keep your boat pointed the right direction (a bucket with rope works or even a sweatshirt tied to rope)

    If you get real fancy and your a single engine, consider a little kicker motor for trolling and backup.

    If it's rough out, a harbor cruise with some cocktails and friends can be just as fun.
    Like the swell period part. Good info
     
    Upvote 0

    ChaseTheBait

    Eat em raw
    Mar 19, 2019
    83
    102
    35
    San Diego
    Name
    Chase
    Boat
    Carolina Skiff 1800
    Like some other people said you should get your CA boater card. The coarse is long and boring and mostly common sense but you will learn a few things from it and avoid the $100?? fine if law enforcement decides to check it.

    I use NOAA and the windy app for weather. Once you go out and translate what the forecast actually looks like it'll be a breeze. Just take it slow, you sound like you're already ahead of the game. I know some dudes who jump into their first boat, take off without looking at the weather, run out of gas, have engine problems, spend their time asking other people for tows, and you don't sound like one of those guys.
     

    SaltH20Angler

    I'm not superstitious... cuz it's bad luck.
  • Aug 6, 2016
    1,372
    1,841
    SoCal - Corona
    Name
    Christopher
    Boat
    I know a couple guys...
    I recommend that you create a small tool kit and keep a set of tools on board. You may want to consider adding a electric tester, wire, an extra plug, fuses, an extra cotter pin for the prop, wire nuts, a small bolt cutter, and any other redundant parts that you might need in a pinch. I recall someone recently posted that they put their tool kit with a small towel and vacuum seal it to prevent rust.

    I've always liked the idea of keeping a snorkel mask and swimming fins on board too. Aside from the obvious benefits of being able to dive at a place like Catalina, they come in real handy if you ever have to put a forgotten plug in or if you have to unfoul braid or any other type of rope from your prop.

    I know a few guys that keep a wet suit on board with their ditch bag. The wetsuit can extend how long you can stay in the water without catching hypothermia.

    I picked up this Halo charger about a year ago and has been a game-changer for me. Not only is it very very small, it holds one hell of a charge and even has an AC plug. I've been one of those guys that has been stuck with a dead battery. When that happened the Skippers anchor was not holding and we were going into the rocks. We literally started taking off our clothes to get ready to get off the boat before it hit the rocks when someone saw what was happening and gave us a tow away from the rocks at Catalina.

    Google "HALO Bolt 58830". $100

    Tight lines bro!
     

    Steve Francis

    Member
    Sep 11, 2006
    370
    470
    --
    Name
    StephenKatSea
    Boat
    .--.
    Lots of good advice here. If you live in the Ventura County area you're likely aware of how quickly conditions can change in that area. Crossing the shipping lanes can be touchy/hazardous in restricted visibility. The entrance to Ventura harbor can break at times. Learn the anchorages in the Channel Islands. Get an EPIRB for your boat. There are also mini EPIRBS available for a PFD. PMLs, personal marker lights, are inexpensive and a good addition for your PFDs. Enjoy!
     

    Pgnracr

    Member
    Sep 3, 2014
    1,691
    1,173
    56
    HB
    Name
    Jeff
    Boat
    Line up
    All great advice. I have owned s boat since HS in 80’s. Have done every wrong thing imaginable. Does not mean you need to. Ocean is a cruel Mistress!! Offers the greatest pleasures, but will gladly take your soul! Planning is everything plan your service. Even though we all do it. Try not going alone!! Weather use several as none are perfect. NOAA marine forecast seems best. Wind I love wind finder. Dual power options always great idea. When I had an outboard. I always had kicker motor. They will save you!! Best of luck
     

    xJasonsx

    Newbie
    Sep 9, 2018
    1
    1
    37
    Ventura
    Name
    Jason
    Boat
    2352 Trophy
    I’m a 1st time poster in a very similar situation as you. If you every want to buddy boat or meet up feel free to PM me. I might not be as knowledgeable as the gentleman above, but predicting the weather isn’t an exact science. Most of the weather data won’t make any sense until your out on the water and see what 6-8 at 10 seconds looks like. Windy is a great app and so far it’s been fairly accurate for our outings. Usually I’m looking for lulls right now hoping we have a window for a 4-8hr trip.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: AirAndSea

    Paul Ward

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Jul 17, 2007
    1,128
    577
    Costa Mesa
    Name
    wooddog
    Boat
    Boaty
    Hello BD, just yesterday I picked up my new to me 23' walk around. Ive fished freshwater my whole life operating boats up to 30 feet and been out many times with friends on their boats in the ocean. This is my first ocean boat and Id like to know any tips you all recommend. First question is what is the best source for weather and swell? Thats my biggest worry is trying to find an accurate weather report. Also, what channels do I need to leave my VHF on or be monitoring? Is there a distress channel or a channel everyone stays on to talk about the local fishing or something? Ive got all the safety equipment on board to the T and I became a BoatUS gold member. Ill be launching mainly out of ventura and channel islands harbor with the occasional pull down to long beach and shoot to catalina for the weekend weather permitting. Im the type of person whos extra cautious on anything I do and if something doesnt feel right I wont do it. The boat doesnt have a hard top so there is no radar on it. It does have a brand new garmin fish finder with navionics chip which I think operates as gps? Either way first thing I'm looking to do is get a top or arch on to slap a radar in case some fog rolls through. Right now Im limiting myself to blue bird days. I was thinking for a while I should just run north or south up or down the coast to get used to the boat before shooting to anacapa. If you guys could answer any of those questions or advice for a new ocean skipper it would be much appreciated.
    What your doing right is knowing there is a lot to learn. So you are wise to ask important questions but the
    Hello BD, just yesterday I picked up my new to me 23' walk around. Ive fished freshwater my whole life operating boats up to 30 feet and been out many times with friends on their boats in the ocean. This is my first ocean boat and Id like to know any tips you all recommend. First question is what is the best source for weather and swell? Thats my biggest worry is trying to find an accurate weather report. Also, what channels do I need to leave my VHF on or be monitoring? Is there a distress channel or a channel everyone stays on to talk about the local fishing or something? Ive got all the safety equipment on board to the T and I became a BoatUS gold member. Ill be launching mainly out of ventura and channel islands harbor with the occasional pull down to long beach and shoot to catalina for the weekend weather permitting. Im the type of person whos extra cautious on anything I do and if something doesnt feel right I wont do it. The boat doesnt have a hard top so there is no radar on it. It does have a brand new garmin fish finder with navionics chip which I think operates as gps? Either way first thing I'm looking to do is get a top or arch on to slap a radar in case some fog rolls through. Right now Im limiting myself to blue bird days. I was thinking for a while I should just run north or south up or down the coast to get used to the boat before shooting to anacapa. If you guys could answer any of those questions or advice for a new ocean skipper it w
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Groper

    mike82

    Member
    Aug 19, 2013
    991
    660
    west coast
    Name
    mike
    Boat
    a fish killing center console
    Hello BD, just yesterday I picked up my new to me 23' walk around. Ive fished freshwater my whole life operating boats up to 30 feet and been out many times with friends on their boats in the ocean. This is my first ocean boat and Id like to know any tips you all recommend. First question is what is the best source for weather and swell? Thats my biggest worry is trying to find an accurate weather report. Also, what channels do I need to leave my VHF on or be monitoring? Is there a distress channel or a channel everyone stays on to talk about the local fishing or something? Ive got all the safety equipment on board to the T and I became a BoatUS gold member. Ill be launching mainly out of ventura and channel islands harbor with the occasional pull down to long beach and shoot to catalina for the weekend weather permitting. Im the type of person whos extra cautious on anything I do and if something doesnt feel right I wont do it. The boat doesnt have a hard top so there is no radar on it. It does have a brand new garmin fish finder with navionics chip which I think operates as gps? Either way first thing I'm looking to do is get a top or arch on to slap a radar in case some fog rolls through. Right now Im limiting myself to blue bird days. I was thinking for a while I should just run north or south up or down the coast to get used to the boat before shooting to anacapa. If you guys could answer any of those questions or advice for a new ocean skipper it would be much appreciated.
    no guts, no glory. go for broke! oh yeah, that catalina channel is a son of a bitch in the afternoons.
     

    Crowman

    Almost A Member
    Mar 3, 2017
    161
    173
    20
    Northern California
    Name
    Crowman
    Boat
    YES
    One thing I always do when I launch is snap a 5/8s line 50 feet long to the front winch eye on the bow. Then stow the rope over the anchor pulley then tie off on a cleat tight then stow the rest of the rope. The reason is IF you stall and need a tow before you wash up on the rocks your ready to toss a line to another boat saving time and possibly your boat.
     

    Blind Luck

    Member
  • Feb 14, 2015
    325
    757
    Temecula
    Name
    Mike Grieco
    Boat
    MALAKAS
    This is this morning's shipping traffic.
    Radar is a lifesaver...

    Screenshot_20210325-073318_Samsung Internet.jpg
     

    sbsurfer

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Feb 19, 2010
    1,652
    808
    805
    Name
    Mark
    Boat
    29ft Radon - 15ft Hobie Power Skiff
    For local weather in SB Channel I look at 17ft.com and Sailflow. On 17ft I look at the Harvest Buoy data/forecast for swell in channel and for wind i look at the buoy data and scroll to the bottom for the Marine Forecast section at the bottom for winds.

    On Sailflow I click on the Live map. Then I look at the forecasts for these buoys (Santa Maria, Pt Arguello, West SB, East SB, Rosa, S. Rosa, Cruz and Catalina Ridge). If the forecast is above 20 in the area I planned on going I usually stay at the dock.

    Get radar for sure if you're crossing the channel. I've seen blue bird days turn to thick fog in the afternoon where I can't see the bow of my boat coming home.
     
    Last edited:

    AirAndSea

    Newbie
    Apr 23, 2019
    24
    20
    Ventura Ca
    Name
    Chris G
    Boat
    17’ Outrage
    I’m a 1st time poster in a very similar situation as you. If you every want to buddy boat or meet up feel free to PM me. I might not be as knowledgeable as the gentleman above, but predicting the weather isn’t an exact science. Most of the weather data won’t make any sense until your out on the water and see what 6-8 at 10 seconds looks like. Windy is a great app and so far it’s been fairly accurate for our outings. Usually I’m looking for lulls right now hoping we have a window for a 4-8hr trip.
    X2 on this
    I’m fairly new but have also spent a lot of time on the water around here over the last 2 years. I have a 17’ whaler outrage, and would be interested in buddy boating as well.

    I became boat crew with the USCG AUX and have learned a ton of valuable skills working with experienced crews. Most important tips are having a vhf, and a handheld attached to your PFD especially if you’re alone. It’s amazing how many people are out with no radio.

    practice using your nav equipment and anchor as well
     

    vincentek9

    halibut suck
    Apr 9, 2010
    382
    217
    anaheim, CA
    Name
    Vince
    Boat
    AVparker
    Windfinder is my go-to app for wind & swell conditions

    Ch 16 is emergency (don't do radio checks on here)
    Ch 72 is general chit chat
    It would be good to know how to set up the scan option on your VHF so that you can cover a bunch of channels simultaneously.

    If you plan on doing regular crossings to islands, and if you plan on doing any boating at night (maybe to get a jump start on a grey light bite), then radar is really important.

    Not sure what kind of towing experience you have, but it may be good to pay attention to tide heights and know how steep launch ramps are. in LB, the cabrillo and alamitos (Davey's) launch ramps are pretty mellow. The queen mary (South Shores) launch ramp is one of the steepest ramps that i know of. I've seen trucks lose traction on low tides and almost became qualified captains there.

    Saltwater can be a monster. Keep up with maintenance. Bring emergecy items (maybe emergency lights, whistles, electrical components, duct tape, etc). Have fun, be safe.
    equipment
     

    Barkoff

    Parker 2320
    Oct 6, 2010
    219
    105
    Hollister CA USA
    Name
    Mike
    Boat
    Dorothy G
    VHF channel 16 is for emergencies and monitored by the coast guard. It would be ideal to have two VHF radios with one on 16 all the time and another for talking between other boats. 72 is the general BS channel.

    as for apps, I like windy.com and FishWeather. They don’t always nail it, and things can always change, but they usually get it close.

    Radar is a great piece of electronics to add, and it will be a game changer once you get to learn it.

    I will advise to take your boat as far as you are comfortable with. Keep to the harbor at first, and venture outside a little bit to get a feel for it. The wind always pick up more in the afternoon.

    wont 16 automatically cut in on most radios?
     
    Upvote 0