Where to Drive Your RC Boat: Complete Guide


Where to Drive Your RC Boat

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To select the best place to drive your RC boat, there are key factors that must be considered. By becoming familiar with these, you give yourself a helping hand in approaching this recreational activity the right way. This ensures that you have a safe and enjoyable time.

Where can you drive your RC boat?

  • Freshwater lakes and ponds, with permission and safe depths, are the best places for RC boats.
  • Look for scheduled times set for this activity in those areas. Local boat clubs post information at hobby shops or marinas about locations, meetings, and events.
  • Avoid unfamiliar waters if you can’t find out about its depth, restrictions, or ecosystem.

Although you might find an open area of water, there could be rules about what activities are allowed. Some areas are not comfortable with RC boats that use IC engines with nitro or gas, while others want the ecosystem left undisturbed. It is important to look at factors beyond a spontaneous decision to head out onto the water with your RC boat because it could impact your love or frustration for this hobby in the long run.

Where to Drive Your RC Boat

RC boats need enough space to travel and show off the skills of the boat driver. Lakes and ponds offer a large enough body of water so that distance is available with a close enough proximity for boat antenna to pick up the signal of the remote control whether you are on the banks or docks.

Fresh water, not salt water

Freshwater lakes and ponds are easier on the mechanics of your RC boat. Salt water can cause corrosion to your cooling coil and electronics. If you are going to drive it in salt water, make sure you flush out the system thoroughly with fresh water after each run.

Know the water depth

Just like larger boats, your RC boat has a propeller and rudder that can get tied up with debris or get stuck in marshy waters. No one wants the hassle of having to go in after their RC boat to fish it out in some way. It helps to know the water depths and where sandbars are too. If you are unsure, ask the local boaters who are more familiar with the waters. Avoiding areas where there is growth is always a good idea. 

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Man-made ponds

Man-made ponds are a great place for RC boaters. They are set up to allow a variety of activities that take advantage of their water. Check in your surrounding areas for man-made ponds, and find out who to ask about using them for your RC boating activities.

RC boat competitions

Competitions and events, that are set up specifically for RC boats, handle scheduled permits for the water locations. At competitions, boaters can plan the next events while also sharing tips to gain further knowledge and skills. These boats don’t always come cheap, so keeping them well-maintained is worth the effort of gaining further understanding from other enthusiasts at competitions. Check local listings and online for competitions for both kids or adults.

Local hobby shops and marinas will usually have bulletin boards where boat clubs post notices about upcoming meetings, events, and locations where RC boating is permitted in that region. If in doubt, ask the marina ahead of your excursion.

Where Not to Drive Your RC Boat

Authorities in different areas have differing opinions about RC boating. Check local rules and information about which ponds and lakes allow it.

Restrictions could be due to the regularity of swimmers, large boats, or fishing activities, frequenting a specific body of water. High priority foot-traffic often takes first place over the opportunity to drive RC boats.

Occasionally there are rules to keep the locals happy. If people live near a lake or pond, they sometimes have set opinions on what kind of activities they prefer to have in their nearby water areas. Disturbing their serene view of nature, for instance, could surpass their willingness to permit any kind of boating activity.

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Why Are Some RC Boats Permitted and Others Are Not?

Some locations determine that certain boats are more of a disturbance than necessary. They have their reasons just as each boater has a reason why they prefer one power-source over another for their boats.

Most boaters want speed and reliability when turning corners in the water, while others want the challenge of mastering the sailing technique. Each reason impacts the choice of power source for an RC boat.

The source of power not only affects the speed and maneuverability of the boat, but could also affect whether some areas will allow you to drive there, or not.

There are five different sources of power for RC Boats:

  • Electric
  • Wind
  • Gas
  • Nitro
  • Steam

The boats that sometimes do not get the same warm welcome as others are the nitro or gas-powered ones.

Although nitro and gas offer an authentic driving experience, they are louder than electric boats. Wind-powered sail boats are especially welcomed in these areas where noise is a determining factor.

Noise can have a large impact upsetting certain people near the water this is especially true in smaller ponds that might be surrounded by offices or a neighborhood.

Consider Nature at the Location You Want to Drive Your RC Boat

Natural water areas are often teeming with wildlife above and below the surface of the water. Some water areas might be traditional nesting grounds for water-fowl, or specific fish.

Locals, who are aware of the wildlife ecosystem in their locations, may become protective of these creatures and therefore discourage people from disturbing them in their natural habitat. The disturbance would not just be noise, although the noise would be a large part of it. It could also be movement in the water that might cause unwanted stress or agitation for the creatures there.

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Local authorities or boat clubs would have a good amount of information about the best place to boat in order to avoid causing any issues with the locals. 

Weather does not just guide wildlife routines but also causes changes in the water itself. It would be good to check the winter weather averages for the location you want to drive your boat. If that location gets iced over, or lakes and ponds become frozen during certain months of the year, make sure you factor this into your plans of enjoying your RC boat there before you go.

Cold air is denser than hot air, so you might need to do some adjusting to make your boat work as well as it would during warmer months. Sometimes nitro powered boats struggle in colder weather, so perhaps having different types of RC boats  to enjoy in different seasons might be something to consider.

Finding the Right Location Can Be Simple

There’s nothing like having a good time with fellow RC boaters at a pond or lake, enjoying the performance of each boat with speed and impressive rooster tails.

The simplest way to ensure your fun is not going to be canceled is to get involved in your local boat club. That bulletin board at your local hobby store or marina becomes personal, and you can frequent it as often as you like.

If you don’t have a local group of boaters, there are online communities that cater to the needs of RC boaters too.

Another advantage of getting involved locally is that your boat’s spare parts will be easily available at your local hobby shop, and you’ll have a group of fellow enthusiasts and experts to help you as you learn and grow in this fulfilling hobby.  

Matt Robbs

I love to spend time with my wife and 3 kids. There is no better way to get them off the couch and outside than for us to grab the RC cars or boat and enjoy the sunshine!

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