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If you like the sound of wind and water whipping across your face and torso at alarming speeds, you’re bound to go ga-ga at the powerboat activities we have to offer. Who would pass on an opportunity to experience one of the most exciting forms of marine motorsport?
What are the activities like?
This will depend on the activity you choose. You can either opt to sit back and let an experienced driver do all the hard work, or you can get behind the wheel and practice how to navigate a powerboat yourself. The choice is yours.
Prepare to sightsee whilst wave jumping and clinging onto the high speed rigid inflatable boats (RIB). The funny thing is, we’re not even joking! Tour guides will be on board to talk you through and point out landmarks the boat will pass. Depending on the location you choose to have this experience, you’ll either whizz through the Thames (passing London’s iconic buildings and bridges), travel past Calshott Castle and onto the Isle of Wight or battle the Solent tides to the Bramble Bank.
Although you won’t experience being behind the wheel of these RIBs, you’re still guaranteed to have an unforgettable time. However, don’t for a second assume you’ll escape getting splashed on because, chances are, you’ll be soaking wet by the end of the day - better you than us!
For those who prefer to get behind the wheel of one of the many boats we have to offer, you’re in for a real treat. Instructors will demonstrate how to navigate and take control of the powerboat before you finally get the chance to experience riding the swells and crashing at high speeds through the ocean.
Boats, boats, boats
So, you’re going to be riding / driving in one for the day; why not learn a bit more about each vessel to help you choose your experience?
RIB - Known as the '4x4s' of the sea, RIB’s are used as lifeboats, patrol craft and even as race boats. They originated from inflatable boats and are designed to maintain buoyancy and stay afloat even in the toughest of sea conditions.
Honda Formula 4-Stroke championship (HF4S) - You’ll be impressed to know that the Honda HF4S is famous for being one of the largest and most powerful off-shore powerboats on the planet. The high speeds of this powerboat means you’ll be flying above water and waves most of the time whilst you’re at sea.
Sunseeker Powerboat - Luxurious and stylish, let’s admit it; everybody wants to own a Sunseeker. Along with its charming looks, the Sunseeker is also mighty and powerful and you’ll have a fun time gracefully gliding across water while attracting jealous glances all around the ocean.
What happens on the day?
To begin with, your instructor will give you a safety briefing and introduce you to the boat you’ve chosen for the day. Each boat is handled in different ways, so the guides will explain what each one is capable of doing and the pitfalls of handling the machinery incorrectly.
If you opt to drive a boat, instructors will introduce you to the basic skills involved in driving a powerboat before they let you take charge. Practice may be needed onshore until the instructors feel you are ready for the real deal.
Most venues will have an on-site catering area for spectators who wish to come along to give participants moral support. However, they may have restricted viewing once the participant hits the water.
Duration, pricing and locations
The time spent on the powerboats depends predominantly on the package you choose. Activities can last from 40 minutes to eight hours and can cost from £20 to around £300.
Whether you’re going to be sightseeing on a powerboat or driving one, there are many locations you can choose from. There are venues all across London, in Hampshire, Portsmouth, Dorset, Glasgow, The Gower in Wales and Cornwall.
Is it safe?
Absolutely! You’ll be provided with a lifejacket and a helmet during your experience and you’ll be pleased to know that all boats are fitted with the latest safety equipment. Fully qualified skippers and guides are on board to ensure your absolute safety.
Should you manage to find yourself in the water at some point during the activities, rest assured that safety boats and marshals are patrolling nearby to rescue you. Saying that, ending up in the water may even complete the whole experience!
Good to know
Make sure you read through the ‘Notes and Restrictions’ section for each experience. Here are a few examples we’ve picked out:
- Height and weight restrictions may apply for some of the experiences
- Participants must be physically fit
- Those who can’t swim can still join in as life jackets are worn throughout the activities
- Minimum age rules apply for most experiences
- Those concerned about seasickness should take tablets before the ride starts
- Appropriate clothing and flat soled foot wear or trainers should be worn
- Bring a change of clothes for your return as you will get wet
The good thing about the powerboat experience is that safety measures are so well incorporated that even non-swimmers can still take part. Safety boats patrol nearby so you can relax and enjoy your day.
It’s perfect for days out with friends where you can share giggles and give each other moral support. If you’re not too confident with driving a boat, you can opt for the sightseeing adventure first and upgrade to the powerboat driving experience once you’ve built up your confidence.