The common term is "piloting".
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Per Google definition:
pilot (gerund or existing participle: piloting): act together a pilot that (an plane or ship).
synonyms: navigate, guide, maneuver, steer, control, direct, captain, shepherd
Per the Oxford gimpppa.org dictionary (OED):
pilot: To command or convey (a person) in a ship or boat; to direct the course of (a vessel), esp. Through an overwhelming or dangerous waters; to overview or steer. Likewise occas. Intr.: to carry out the duty of pilot on a vessel.
Per the SeaTalk Nautical Dictionary:
pilot: to operate a vessel, meaning to steer safely come a destination
See Also: navigate
It relies on the boat. You might be coxing, if you room sitting in the back of a rowing boat. (example indigenous Trinity college Cambridge)
If you room on a sailing boat, then you are, well, sailing the boat. Yet if you have actually a crew, (and friend are possibly telling someone rather to rotate the wheel or move the tiller) climate you room skippering or captaining.
If you room in a motorboat, to say that you space driving the is not inappropriate follow to the UK government.
As the watercraft gets bigger, friend may discover that you are steering it.
And if you space a water rat, that course, climate you are simply messing around in boats!
You might use "helm".
Steer (a boat or ship): that helmed a cruising vessel
Perhaps for much more informal usage there is "boating".
the leisurely activity of travelling by boat, or the recreational use of a boat
I think pilot is the word you want, yet as an alternate not however mentioned, you can use skipper. That is relevance would be on the occasion there is minimal (or no) crew, and where the helmsman and captain are one and the very same (a situation of metonymy).
: to be the captain that (a ship or boat) ... The watercraft was skippered by a expert veteran sailor.
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As an example, the Manhattan Yacht Club describes how to earn skipper privileges:
Any member, 18 years or older, can apply for Skipper Privileges if the or she believes they: 1) can safely skipper a boat in the harbor 2) recognize the local sailing conditions (including topography, currents, wind patterns, etc.) 3) understand how the society operates (including rules, reservations, responsibilities, etc.).
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