The day started early in the morning with a gloomy outlook. The weather was damp and not promising when we set out. We readied our boats for the short haul to the New Smyrna Beach, Florida US Coast Guard Station, where the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission were holding Sea Trials. This was scheduled for the FWC as they are currently in a transition period of their current boat models in the field were beginning to be retired in the next couple of years.
The FWC had a big week in store for all of the vendors that were attending the sea trials. The days began with a safety brief which followed the raising of the Flag of the United States of America. Following, the day began to kick into high gear.
Starting with on land evaluations of all of the boat vendors, the FWC thoroughly inspected each and every model present on their given day. Items they seemed to be interested in were the ease of access to all necessary functions on the boat, build quality in the construction, and the overall function of the cockpit area. They seemed to look at every hatch opening and every storage door for functionality for their day to day operations on the water.
As the weather began to clear, the FWC completed their on land inspections. The boats were then prepared for launch at the private boat ramp located on the Coast Guard base. This allowed the FWC officers to get a first-hand look at each and every boat being launched. They kept a sharp eye to see how easy each vendor was able to launch their boats, as time is of the essence when they are on the job.
All of the boats were staged at the docks ready for the sea trials and so began the long day of seriously rigorous sea trials. We set off into the idle wake zone of the intercostal waterway leading out to the inlet in New Smyrna Beach. Upon reaching the resume normal operation signs, our sea trials began to take shape.
The officers put the boats through their paces, beginning with acceleration tests. This started in both forward and reverse operation of the boats. Following, were the handling tests of the boats. This included sweeping S-turns leading to sharper and faster turns to get a feel of the handling characteristics of each and every boat. Next on the agenda was to see how it handled some waves and chop, so they headed out the inlet briefly and turned back in, as a short feel is all that was necessary in most applications.
On the way back in from the inlet the boats were tested for top speed and then turned over to the second officer so he may get a feel for the operation of the selected model. The Officer concluded the test after putting the boats through its paces, by idling back to the docks.
This is where the final test of the boat took place, docking. For most, this really shows the handling characteristics of the boats in most of their on the job operation. For illustration purposes, this most resembles the officers pulling up next to another boat on the water. All of the officers were very capable in the operation of the boats so docking was a breeze.
All of the officers present had their hand at the operation of every vessel. This included 6 teams of 2 officers which totaled 12 officers operating the boats. After each officer completed their test they conferred with each other about their likes of the boat and then scored each sea trial.
Everyone present broke at mid-day for a wonderful lunch that the Coast Guard was gracious enough to provide to the Officers and Vendors for a great price of $5. All that was included was pulled pork, coleslaw, baked beans, and for desert, pudding on the day that we were present.
Following lunch the boat tests continued for the remainder of the day until around 4:00pm. This is when all the boats were pulled from the water and were allowed to depart. Following our departure, the FWC would convene at a later time to discuss the day’s activities and reach a consensus on the day.
EdgeWater Power Boats was happy to take part in such a well-organized and well thought-out event. We are thankful to the FWC for everything they do on the water to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable boating experience. We look forward to the future and the hard work they continue to do each and every day.