Coast Guard class starting March 13

Published 9:09 pm Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just when you think that you know all there is to know about boating, something new will pop up—new types of water toys as well as new style gear and new safety techniques to improve your boating fun.

To get on the top of the heap, sign up for the America’s Boating Course taught by the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

This year’s class will be held on Saturday, March 13, starting at 9 a.m. It will go until 4:30 p.m. Class will be held at the Performing Arts Building at the Earle May Boat Basin in Bainbridge.

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This fun, but challenging class, covers all phases of boat operation and safety as well as the environmental impact that watercraft make on the rivers and Lake Seminole. Everyone will find something new, something to take home and practice, be it the novice or the veteran boater.

This informative class covers all of the skills that you need to be a responsible and safe boat operator. You can start by learning all about your boat, from the hull to the engine. You will find yourself talking just like and “old salt” knowing the meaning of freeboard, gunwale and dead fall. Yep, you will feel like the “Alpha Male” at the marina as you toss around terms like transom and stern drive. You will even know the difference between a cleat and a chock.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary’s main function is to keep boating safe and fun for everyone. To this end they stress these three most important factors that you need to know for safety while boating: Always wear your life jacket because it won’t work for you if you don’t have it on, never boat under the influence of alcohol and get a vessel safety check.

No one wants their boating day to result in an injury to a friend or family member let alone the unspeakable, a death. In the class, learning how to prevent and respond to the three most common causes of fatalities: falling overboard, capsizing and boat collisions can definitely save lives.

Surprisingly, many accidents happen while docked or while launching and trailering the boat. In the class, not only will you learn the proper way to cast off and dock, you will also learn the safe way to trailer and launch your boat.

There is also a special section on the proper driving of a jet ski and how to tow a skier or someone who is tubing behind the boat. Sadly, last year there were several horrific accidents that happened while towing children. Learning how to prevent these types of mishaps and save precious lives is worth the time involved.

The course also includes ways to prevent theft and tells of dollar-saving maintenance tips for both the boat and engine.

There are more benefits over and above taking the class. When you complete this course some insurance companies give a discount. Also, teens from 12 years to 15 years can qualify to legally operate specified power boats and PWCs.

You may already know some things, but I guarantee there will be others that you may not have had the chance to be come acquainted with.

Talk with your boating friends and get a group together, set aside this Saturday to enhance your boating skills and enjoyment.

Call Ed or Mary Zapata, USCG Aux Fl 1-10, at (850) 893-1524 or e-mail them at Don’t let an accident happen on your watch!