Williamson Turn


  • To practice and develop the boat handling skill of using a Williamson Turn (sequence of 90-degree and 270-degree turns) to return on the reciprocal of the original track. A maneuver used to return to a person or object that has fallen overboard and is not visible.

Setting Up the Drill:

  • Equipment: tennis ball or other small floatable object on each boat
  • Assign each boat a sector in an open area in which to conduct a Williamson Turn.

Conducting the Drill:

  • Each boat proceeds at planing speed and drops the floatable object in the water and proceeds out a distance until the object can no longer be seen.
  • Each boat executes a Williamson Turn and returns to the object.

Teaching Tips:

  • Speed control and a constant rate of turn are critical.
  • This drill can easily flow into a PIW retrieval.
  • The size of the object is determined by the space available.

Common Errors:

  • Turning more sharply in the second turn and winding up inside the object.


  • Safety & Rescue Boat Handling On-Water Skill Standard 2.5 and its rubrics
  • Safety, Rescue & Support Boat Handling textbook pg. 29

Start Powerboating Right! textbook pg. 142