Nautical Aptitude Quiz

April 2020 Live Ted A. Thompson

Are you cut out to be the captain of a boat? Spend a few minutes to reveal your true Nautical Leadership Quotient. Remember, this is an aptitude test. There are no right or wrong answers.

Wait, that’s baloney. Of course there are right answers. But I’ll make it easy, here’s a clue: the most correct answer is always "A." The rest of the choices are mostly nonsense. Which is okay, for a quiz that is totally bogus anyway.

1. Someone falls into the water while the boat is underway. You should:

a). Cut the engine, toss the person a certified flotation device, and get him back into the boat as quickly as possible.

b). Is the person in the water without a life jacket? Get moving! Is it your brother in law? Worth noting! Does he owe you money? Get moving!

c). Cut the engine, then pretend you dropped the keys in the water to take everyone’s mind off the emergency.

2. You’re relaxing on the lake, preparing burgers on the gas grill, when someone points out that lunch is burning. You should:

a). Reduce the heat on the grill, then start paying more attention to your cooking and less to your socializing.

b). Immediately blame your wife for buying “80 percent lean” hamburger instead of 85 percent. Suggest she do better next time. Then listen carefully to her suggestions, nodding thoughtfully as she speaks.

c). Calmly extinguish the grease fire and explain that your specialty is Creole Blackened Burgers, adding for convincing effect, “Boy, are you in for a treat!”


3. You’re with family and friends on the boat when suddenly it starts raining. You should:

a). Put up the bimini top and make a considered decision whether to wait it out or return to the dock.

b). Get under the boat for protection. Stop the boat first.

c). Leap into the water, flailing your arms and legs while screeching, “Every man for himself!”


4. You’re underway at safe speed and on a proper course, when suddenly a kid on a jetski cuts directly across your bow. You should:

a). Slow down and check to see if he has any pals fixing to do the same dumb trick. (They seem to run in pairs.) Take the high road and give way to stupidity on the water, so no one gets hurt – you probably weren’t very smart when you were young, either.

b). Cut a few high-speed donuts in the water, creating some righteous wake action for the kid to jump.

c). Blow your horn, jump up and down, wave your arms excitedly, wag your finger, thumb your nose, stomp your feet, scream, curse, threaten, and rave, effectively communicating just what an idiot that guy is.


5. Time to go home, but when you crank the motor, it doesn’t start. You should:

a). Be careful not to drain the battery or overheat the starter. Let it rest a few minutes, then try again, calmly reassuring everyone, “Don’t worry, this motor always starts.”

b). Ask for volunteers to help push start the thing.

c). Distribute life jackets and point out the shortest swim to the dock, playfully warning the younger kids about “those darned freshwater sharks” to help lighten the mood.


6. True or False Question  (Bonus Points): I probably should leave this subject alone, but suppose you’ve just pulled the boat away from the dock when someone announces, “I have to pee.”  If you have a houseboat, simply explain how to operate the head. If you have a pontoon or deckboat, however:

a). If it’s one of the kids, explain that they can wait a few minutes until swimming, then just go in the water -- everybody does it, no harm. T or F?

b). If it’s one of the adults…nah, chances are they wouldn’t mention it, they’ve been around the lake before. However, you can tell who’s doing it in the water by watching the looks on their faces.  T or F?

c). If it’s your mother, just turn the boat around, take her back to the dock, keep your mouth shut and your complaints to yourself.  T or F?


Tally your score. If you checked “A” for every question, congratulations! At least you read the instructions before you started the test.

If you inclined toward the (b) or (c) options on one or two questions, don’t count yourself out as a boat skipper. Learn the rules of safe boating before you go out, but also, heed common sense when operating any water craft. And pay no attention to any quiz of mine.

And if you missed more than one or two…well, chances are you were just havin’ too much fun with it.

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