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Tired of boating being a spectator sport? Summer is the perfect time to take control of your helm. You’ll take your hobby to a whole new level, increase your confidence when out on the water, learn something new, and chances are – you’ll love boating even more.

Captain and co-franchisee of Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake, VA, Nancy Ellett is seeing more and more women owning and operating their own boats. She finds it refreshing and exciting to see this trend.  Today’s boating environment is very different from when she first decided to become a Captain. Back then, she was one of only a few women training to become a Captain, but now she is one of many.

Nancy turned her passion into a Sea Tow business that she co-owns with her husband Rick, also a Captain. Although Nancy learned the fundamentals of boating from her husband, she doesn’t recommend relying on your significant other to teach you the basics.

“First, learn from someone you trust, someone who is not your husband or boyfriend,” Capt. Nancy Ellett said. “Things will go a lot smoother, and life will be easier in many ways if you learn from a trained boating instructor who knows how to teach beginners.”

Even if pursuing a career in boating is not your end game, knowing what to do at the helm is always useful, especially if there is an emergency. Captain Nancy stresses the importance of arming yourself with the knowledge of how to confidently maneuver a boat. It can help you escape from tricky situations.

“If you’re out with friends at a party or restaurant, you may find yourself uneasy at the prospect of riding back with your original captain,” Capt. Nancy said. “If you know the essentials, you can take the helm and guarantee that the day ends safely for everyone onboard.”

Captain Nancy offers the following tips to women ready to take the next step:

  • Start to pay attention to the details and techniques your captain uses when docking and maneuvering through different situations.
  • Learn your area, environment and how to read a tide chart. Locate and understand any areas that might be difficult to navigate or have shallow spots.
  • Reach out to your local Sea Tow Captain or the United States Power Squadron for resources that will help you learn the basics of boating.
  • Take a boating safety course, as well as a course that prepares you for driving your boat. Learn more at:
  • Never take the boat out alone. Always go out with an experienced boater.
  • Practice, practice, practice!
  • Remember to have fun.

Sea Tow Team

Sea Tow has been the premier leader in on-water boating assistance since 1983. We want to share news, press, tips and all things boating.

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