Minimum Control Speed Formation


  • Practice and develop the boat handling skill of operating a boat with control at the slowest possible speed (slower than at idle speed) when docking, approaching a ramp or mooring, or maneuvering in a marina

Setting Up the Drill:

  • Boats prepare to get into their formation positions abeam of the trainer boat as per trainer’s instructions.
  • Boats start from a position dead in the water or near a dock.

Conducting the Drill:

  • Operators line up parallel and abeam on either side of trainer boat.
  • Operators match trainer boat’s minimum control speed for at least 10 boat lengths.

Teaching Tips:

  • Reinforces concept of constant bearing to maintain position to trainer boat and match trainer’s minimum control speed.

Common Errors:

  • Not staying abeam of the trainer boat, resulting in failure to match the trainer’s minimum control speed.


  • Safe Powerboating Handling On-Water Skill Standard 3.1 and its rubrics
  • Start Powerboating Right! textbook pg. 45