A friend's father taught me to rope start, shift and tiller steer his 51/2 hp Johnson outboard....after that, I was on my own.
As a teenager (racing already), I worked at a marina fuel dock, and docked 26 foot single screw straight inboard Owens cabin cruisers for $1.00 each back at their respective slips. This was an invaluable service for the terrified owners since, as some of you know, conventional inboards don't steer in reverse.
I also "crewed" (washed, serviced, stocked, helmed, and bartended) a 55' Chris Craft Constellation for a retired Dentist and his wife.......at the age of 16.
It all just seemed to come "naturally".......except when those damned tunnel hulls blew over.