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Preparation is key to successful cruising. Regardless of the size, make or model of your boat, understanding its critical systems and having a plan is crucial to keep your craft performing efficiently and safely. Join yacht broker, boatbuilder and TrawlerFest instructor Jeff Merrill in this exclusive online course designed to help you prepare yourself, your boat and your crew to get the most out of your offshore boating adventures.

What you'll learn: This convenient, online course covers everything you need to know to prepare for a voyage: planning, navigation, weather, tracking your boat’s performance, crew responsibilities and best practices, troubleshooting and some common repairs you can do yourself. Instructor Jeff Merrill shares his 30-plus years of hands-on boating experience and will help you learn the ins and outs of your vessel and how to keep systems running tip-top - from engine room to pilothouse.

This course is designed into two parts with the first aimed at preparing yourself, your boat and your crew and getting everything ready before you leave the dock. The second section covers challenges that can happen while underway.


Your learning experience: You’ll have unlimited access to high-quality video instruction, pertinent articles with tips catered to offshore cruising, and handy downloadable checklists you can customize for your boat. Plus, you'll get direct access to your instructor for any specific questions you may have throughout your learning experience. The best part is, you can learn at your own pace, anytime and anywhere you have an internet connection.

Course philosophy: As a boater, you know you have to process a lot of input in any given moment (wind, waves, current, other boats, speed, heading, sea life, sun and rain). Every day on board is an opportunity to experience something new. An unexpected event can occur magically and remain with you as a memory. There is so much to learn and the more you discover, the more you realize that you could not possibly ever know it all. This quest to learn more, to gain knowledge and experience is incredibly stimulating and the gratification it provides is a deeply rooted motivation for many boaters. Lessons learned in minutes can leave a lasting impression on us for the rest of our days. 

Jeff Merrill grew up racing sailboats and spent his high school and summer vacations as a sailing instructor; working with younger kids to coach them in the intricacies of sail trim, tactical situations, sportsmanship and making quick decisions that have lasting consequences. Looking up the course, paying attention to your boat and at the same time processing all of your surroundings–other boats, wind on the water, etc.–creates an analytical approach that translates over to other aspects of boating, business and life in general. Jeff enjoys sharing his knowledge and as a yacht broker working with clients, he has found a natural outlet as an instructor. His teaching techniques have also thrust him on stage for nearly two decades at the PassageMaker magazine TrawlerFests around the country.