First Speedboat driving experience-Lake Travis, Austin

Recently I had my first speed boat driving experience... My relatives in Austin rented a speed boat for two hours in lake Travis and we could zip around the lake on our own and have some fun.
Two hours rental costed close 200 dollars including insurance and tax and we were about 8 people (five adults and 3 kids). Minimum 2 hours during weekends. Bigger boats available for larger groups. 

Boat driving is not at all difficult. At least the one I drove. It is easier than driving a car.  But there are a few things we should keep in mind..

1. Minimum Depth.  We were advised not to go to places shallower than 20 ft. There is an on board display indicating current depth.  I think 20 ft limit is with lots of buffer.  If we go to shallower places there will be risk of running around,  hitting some rocks in the water etc, propeller damage etc which is not safe. (For comparison, mighty warship USS Midway wouldn't enter water shallower than 100 ft)
2. Navigation:  Need to keep an eye ahead for other lake users.  There will be other boats,  people trying kayaks,  sail boats,  banana boat rides and so on.  Unlike road,  there are no fixed lanes,  traffic signals to navigate in a lake.  So we need to slow down,  ensure no two watercrafts are on a collision course and navigate gently while passing other boats. From what I have read there will be lots of rules in maritime navigation as to who will have priority,  which direction to turn and so on.  But on the lake,  we managed by slowing down and moving away from another vessel. 

Lake Travis wasn't really crowded and we could push to 30-35 mph without any issue. Even faster could have been possible if I guess. 

3. Balance: need to ensure that boat is evenly loaded. Tilting on one side won't be good for stability. 

4. Visibility from where I sat was a bit tricky.  Boats are designed to be rear heavy so their front portion is slightly lifted.  This enables them to cruise at higher speeds.  But from a driver's seat,  if you are not tall enough,  getting full view of the water ahead of you needs some effort.  It is not difficult but just not as easy as a car.  I did something inspired by our Udupi-Kundapura bus drivers..  Put a life jacket on the seat and sat on it for a better view... 

We anchored at some place and rested for a while.  Anchoring involves dropping a heavy steel anchor down into water.  This ensures boat doesn't free float away. It will be moving around though,  thanks to waves created by other boats. 
Steering was through a wheel,  just like how we drive a car.  Response was swift.  Throttle response I felt was a bit rough and non-spontaneous compared to cars. 

There are no sun blinds. At times when sun rays are direct on your face need some extra caution. 

There is no specific license required to hire speed boats in US. Any ID proof is enough,  need to be above certain age.

Watch a short video here

Overall the two hours we spent on the boat was fun. Speedboat joins the list of unusual vehicles I have driven- others being Tractor,  JetSki,  Microlight flight,  ATV,  Maserati 

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