Before you're ready to jump in the cockpit and hit the water, some basic education on the ins and outs of powerboats might be helpful, so let's take a look at some of the basics of powerboat racing.

To put yourself at the top of the podium, it all starts with understanding your equipment compared to your competitors. Being properly informed about the components of your boat can be the deciding factor between first and last. Below is a general overview of the important information revolving around power boating.
A Hydro is a type of hull designed so that much of the hull lifts out of the water and skims the surface at high speeds. A hydro is easily recognizable by the points or sponsons at the front of the boat, which create the hydroplaning effect.

Runabouts slice through the water and are more challenging to drive, with them being equated to a motocross dirt bike.
The right propeller is essential to racing; your prop can make or break your heat on the water. Made of stainless steel, the most commonly used propellers are composed of three or four blades. More blades reduce vibrations while maintaining efficiency, while propellers with fewer blades are best for lower horsepower engines. To help make propellers more efficient, blades should be as thin as possible. However, thinner blades, while more efficient, also run the risk of cracking when pushed to the limit by motors with higher horsepower and torque.
Inboard engines are housed inside the hull as opposed to outboard motors, which are on the back of a boat. Inboard engines have various power plans ranging from two-stroke to stock four-cylinder, to a stock eight-cylinder engine. In addition to stock engines, Inboard motors can also be highly modified four-cylinder engines.

Inboard engine are detachable engines mounted to the stern of the hull. Unlike an inboard engine, this engine is a self-contained unit that consists of an engine and a gearbox. Because many outboard racers race more than one class, outboard motors are quickly interchangeable.

Unlimited Hydroplanes are usually powered by a single Lycoming T-55 L-7 turbine engine. These engines are best known for powering the military's Chinook helicopters. These engines are capable of 3000 HP, and they run on Jet-A fuel. These powerful engines turn a three blade 16" steel propeller creating a force that propels an Unlimited boat over 200 mph.
Helmet - must meet the specifications set forth by any of the following: American National Standards Institute, Inc., Snell, or military specification helmet designed for military aircraft. All helmets must have the top 50% as a high visibility color (yellow, orange, fluorescent red). While oxygen is not required, some racers in enclosed cockpits choose to use it.

Neck Restraint – The OPC category requires neck restraints, and many racers from our other categories choose to use them to protect their necks and backs from the constant stress of racing.

Life Jacket - must be in compliance with APBA Lifejacket Manufacturing Specifications. In addition, the upper 70% of all lifejackets must be colored orange or yellow. Lifejacket variation is specific to the type of cockpit and restraints the driver is using.

Driving Suit - All APBA racers are required to wear some sort of protective clothing underneath their life jackets. The suit pictured is for Inboard racing and is the required fire-resistant suit. Outboard drivers are required to wear cut resistant sleeves and pants which are primarily made of Kevlar.
So, you're interested in racing powerboats? Can't say we blame you; there's nothing quite like the thrill of racing deck-to-deck with some of the best drivers in the country at extreme speeds just inches above the water. These boats aren't just for professional drivers; anyone can race, and anyone can win – but winning doesn't happen overnight. We've created this beginner's guide to powerboat racing to help you understand what it takes to get started.
The best way to learn about racing and get experience driving in a controlled and safe environment is through an APBA Driving School. Future racers will have their choice of category depending on where you're located. You will learn how to line up for a start, how to turn properly and, most importantly, how to race safely.
There's no better way to get the full racing experience than going to races that are taking place nearby. Most racers will answer any and all questions you may have. They may even be willing to let you help crew for the weekend. We pride ourselves on being one big racing family, and we welcome you to join it.
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The four major factors to consider when deciding which APBA category you will race in are Location, Weight, Age and Budget. Make sure to consult the category tabs of the website to determine which category is best for you.
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Finding the equipment that’s right for you will be determined on which category you would like to try. Contact the corresponding category chair, and they will help to point you in the right direction.

Facebook is a great place to find equipment. Joining boat racing groups and talking with other racers from across the country can get you in contact with the right people. Going to events is also a great start, as many teams put equipment up for sale in the pits.
Make sure to have your APBA membership card, your club card, and a filled-out entry blank for every class you are racing that weekend. Many clubs and race sites offer online pre-registration to make the check-in process much faster and more seamless.

If you race Inboard or Vintage, you will need to have your required physical at registration. Capsule boats require capsule training. After you register, make sure you sign a waiver and get a wristband. Double check you’ve got APBA stickers on both sides of your boat, and once all that is completed, you're ready to race!
Owning and maintaining a race boat isn't a simple task, but it's definitely a fun hobby. Most racers will buy their hull already assembled and modify their engine to give them the best possible chance of winning. Don't worry, fellow racers will help you out and teach you everything you need to know along the way
Going fast and staying safe - that's what the APBA is all about. We provide the rules, the officials and the insurance for the races that you participate in. With 10 different categories of racing operating in 9 regions across the country, racing with the APBA provides plenty of options based on the type of race experience you're looking for.
While power boat racing is considered to be one of the most affordable motorsports, it's important to know exactly what you're getting into before you make any commitment. Browse through this site, connect with APBA headquarters, and talk to any racer you come across about how to get into powerboat racing.
If you're interested in racing in the APBA, it's important for you to know where to race and how the race regions are organized. As a National organization, the APBA has 9 different racing regions set up across the country, and familiarizing yourself with the regional set-up is an important step to getting started.
The APBA is broken down into 9 different racing regions across the country. Each region has its own set of rules, which are created in accordance with APBA Bylaws. Within each of these regions, local race clubs organize, run and promote APBA-sanctioned events. To find out more about racing in your region, contact your region chair.
Clubs are set up at the local level and are a great way for new racers to connect with racing veterans in their area and get a leg up. Local race clubs are the true lifeblood of the APBA, as they are the ones who organize and run each of the race events throughout the year. Clubs are led by commodores, and will typically meet every month or so to discuss new business, talk about upcoming races and potential new races. As a new racer, it's a good idea to jump in and be active with your local club early on. There's a wealth of knowledge and help just waiting for you. Search for the club closest to you on the APBA Clubs Page.
The APBA sanctions race events throughout the United States called regattas. Regattas are typically a weekend long series of different races across multiple categories and classes. By participating in an APBA-sanctioned event, racers are guaranteed insurance and also qualify to earn high points.
Every race you participate in provides you with the opportunity to earn high points. High points are awarded based on how you finish in your heat, with point values and specific rules for awarding points varying across different categories.

Not all races are created equal - throughout the year, there are certain races that are more valuable when determining overall high point championships than others. Regional, Divisional, National, North American and World Championships (held in the U.S.A) are all more valuable.
There are a couple of different ways to be a champion in the APBA. A National Champion is someone who has won their classes' respective National Championship race. High Points Champions are the drivers or boats that accumulate the highest possible point total in their class within a certain number of races throughout the entire race season.
Just like other motorsports, the inside lane is the best position in powerboat racing. It provides the shortest distance around the course and gives an advantage to any racer. The overall length of the race is five miles, but depending on the size of the course, the number of laps may vary from three to five total laps for a complete race.
All buoys must be passed on the drivers left side (except Offshore). If a driver passes to the right, they must go back and pass the buoy on the correct side. Drivers can touch a buoy and continue racing as long as no damage is done. However, if a buoy is dislodged, deflated, or otherwise damaged, the boat will be disqualified.
Drivers who jump the gun on a start won't know until the end of the race, at which point they will not receive a checkered flag at the finish line.
The flying start is unlike any start in any other motor sport. This format has boats cross the starting line at full speed, which means timing the start is absolutely essential. The starting line is marked with two checkered buoys on either end, and drivers must time their approach to cross this line at the exact time the start clock has counted down to zero. The lane or position established at this point must be maintained down the front straightaway to the exit of turn one during the start. Because of this, the first turn is where most action is likely to occur - be sure you have a good view.
Green Flag: Before Start - Signaled between the Five Minute and One Minute Mark
Green Flag: After Start - Signaled while the race is underway except the last lap
White Flag: Before Start - Signaled between the One Minute and Race Start
White Flag: After Start - Signaled when the Leader has started the last lap
Red Flag: Racers must STOP, be alert and watch for other signals
Blue and White Flag: Caution - Problems on the Race Course, Racers Continue with Caution
Black Flag: Course is Closed - Racers Return to Pits
Checkered Flag: Race Finish
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