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Anytime is a Great Time to Take a Boating Safety Course and Get Your Boating License or Certificate

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Friday, February 7, 2020

Anytime is a Great Time to Take a Boating Safety Course and Get Your Boating License or Certificate

Many states make changes to boating laws and regulations throughout the year, so it is good to get a refresher now and then with a boating safety course. A boating safety course will make sure that you know everything you can about being a safe boater including the legal requirements before inviting friends and family out on your boat.

You should also be aware that many states are now requiring that boaters get their boating license or certificate before operating various types of boats. And the way to get a Boating  License or Certificate is by taking a boating safety course. The state laws may pertain to power boats, personal watercraft like Jet Skis or any other boats with engines. In addition, these laws may impact all boaters or just those of a certain age, so it is important to check the requirements of the state(s) where you will be boating and plan time to get your boating license or certificate, if it is needed.

You can find classroom courses that are offered locally in your area in the evenings or on weekends or you can take a class online from your home or office.  Boating Safety Courses are offered by state boating agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard AuxiliaryAmerica’s Boating Club and many other companies and organizations. There is even an interactive, online course from our friends at iLearntoBoat.com. Regardless of how the boating safety course is presented, the final test for your boating license or certificate will include questions on life jackets, fire safety, anchoring procedures, the Navigation Rules, emergency situations, and state-specific information that boaters should know to be safe on the water in their state. If you boat in multiple states, it may be good to take a course in each of those states to be certified and up to speed on the rules in each state.

As an added incentive to get this training, boating insurance companies frequently offer discounts to boaters who successfully complete an approved boating safety course. Check with your insurance company for a list of boating safety courses or you can visit the U.S. Coast Guard’s website to find a list of approved boating safety courses.

Tags:  2018-19  Americas Boating Club  Education  US Coast Guard Auxiliary  US Power Squadrons 

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Keep your Passengers Safe This Summer by Designating a Sober Skipper

Posted By Gail Kulp, Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

Keep your Passengers Safe This Summer by Designating a Sober Skipper

Summer days are in full swing and we all want a great day on the water. On a boat, wind, vibration, noise, and the sun can impair balance, coordination, concentration, and these effects are only intensified when drinking alcohol.

Today, alcohol is the leading cause of fatal boating accidents, so designate a Sober Skipper before leaving the dock. If you are the skipper, stay alert and sober. Don’t drink alcohol. Do it for your family, your friends, your passengers and everyone else on the water. Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is 100 percent preventable.

That’s why we created the Sober Skipper program in 2015 – to provide boaters with a positive and proactive approach to preventing BUI accidents and fatalities. The program asks boaters to take the pledge to be or designate a sober skipper before every boating trip. The pledge notes that the boater operator will avoid alcohol and drug use when in charge of navigating the boat and will be in charge of the boat and all of its passengers to ensure that everyone arrives safely back on the dock at the end of the day.

Our friends at America’s Boating Club squadrons around the country have joined us in the effort to promote the Sober Skipper program. When squadrons conduct vessel safety checks, they’ll ask boaters to sign up to take the pledge be a sober skipper and they often hand out Sober Skipper wristbands as reminders.

“We’d like to extend a special thanks to the members of America’s Boating Club who have shown their commitment to keeping boaters safe and sober through their vessel safety checks,” said Gail R. Kulp, the Foundation’s executive director. “After all, as boaters, when our hands are on the helm, lives are in our hands and it is up to us to keep everyone safe on the water.”

Get on board and take the pledge today to be responsible for yourself, your vessel, and your passengers. By designating a Sober Skipper, you’re keeping yourself and your loved ones safe, which leads to more beautiful summer days together out on the water. Find out more at www.soberskipper.com.

Tags:  2018-19  Americas Boating Club  Sober Skipper  US Coast Guard  US Power Squadrons 

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Winter is a Great Time to Take a Boating Safety Course

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, January 4, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Winter is a Great Time to Take a Boating Safety Course

As the days get colder, it seems like the summer will never get here. Although your boat and gear may be stored away for the winter, you shouldn’t let your skills and knowledge get put away, too. Many states make changes to boating laws and regulations over the winter months, so it is good to get a refresher now that the New Year is here. A boating safety course will make sure that you know everything you can about being a safe boater including the legal requirements before inviting friends and family out on your boat in a few months when it warms up again.

You can find classroom courses that are offered locally in your area in the evenings or on weekends or you can take a class online from your home or office.  Courses are offered by state boating agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, America’s Boating Club and many companies and organizations. Regardless of how the course is presented, the test will include questions on life jackets, fire safety, anchoring procedures, the Navigation Rules, emergency situations, and state-specific information that boaters should know to be safe on the water in their state. If you boat in multiple states, it may be good to take a course in each of those states to be certified and up to speed on the rules in each state.

As an added incentive to get this training, boating insurance companies frequently offer discounts to boaters who successfully complete an approved boating safety course. Check with your insurance company for a list of courses or you can visit the U.S. Coast Guard’s website to find a list of approved courses.

 

Tags:  2018-19  Americas Boating Club  Boating Safety  Education  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips  US Coast Guard  US Coast Guard Auxiliary  US Power Squadrons 

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Life Jacket Loaner Stands Save Lives and Days On The Water

Posted By Gail Kulp, Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020

Life Jacket Loaner Stands Save Lives and Days On The Water

Nothing can be more frustrating than getting to the boat launch/ramp and realizing that you left the life jackets at home.

Forgetting your Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) means a morning can be ruined, the bite could be missed, or if you take a chance and go out without them, a life could be lost.

Boaters along Florida’s Gulf Coast who forget their life jackets can now rest assured. A valuable service that provides life jackets free of charge is still available and getting better.

Sea Tow Charlotte Harbor and the Peace River Sail & Power Squadron have partnered to manage 11 life jacket loaner stands located in Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda, and Placida, ensuring that the PFDs are maintained, clean and ready to use when needed.

“The partnership will not only increase maintenance of these life jacket loaner stands, but help to promote this valuable service to the public so more people can stay safe on the water,” said District 22's District Lieutenant Commander Harold Anderson, AP of the Peace River Sail & Power Squadron.

According to Captain Mike DeGenaro, owner of Sea Tow Charlotte Harbor, which provides on-the-water services to boaters in need, the life jacket loaner stands are located in the following areas:

 

Port Charlotte:

• El Jobean Ramp
• Port Charlotte Beach
• Spring Lake Boat Ramp

 

Punta Gorda:

• Burnt Store Boat Ramp
• Burnt Store Cradle Launch
• Laishley Marina
• Fisherman’s Village
• Harbor Heights Boat Ramp
• Ponce Park

 

Placida:

• Gasparilla Marina
• Placida Boat Ramp

 

“We can’t be everywhere, but we are doing our best to provide these stands in busy boating areas where we know that people could have a need and benefit from them,” DeGenaro said.

Management of the life jacket stands includes: counting use, monitoring for loss, repairs, promoting the service, and taking regular inventory.

 

Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program

The Sea Tow Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to promote safe boating practices, has distributed more than 35,000 life jackets to boaters across the country since 2008 with the help of volunteers including: Sea Tow Captains, US Power Squadrons, various organizations, and boating agencies throughout the United States and territories. These stands are placed in locations where boaters will have easy access to the life jackets, such as boat ramps, marinas, and parks.
Boaters may borrow the life jackets at no cost and are asked to return them when they are done so that they are available for others to use. These life jackets are purchased through a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, as administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. They are distributed to volunteer hosts who make them available to boaters free of charge.

 

The Life Jacket Loaner program has three components:
1) Life Jacket Drive, which hosts ask their community to donate new and gently used jackets.
2) Life Jacket Grant, which offers boating agencies and nonprofit organization the opportunity to receive life jackets and stands at no charge.
3) Life Jacket Partnership, which offers life jackets and stand for a fee along with a manual and technical support.

 

Peace River Sail & Power Squadron

The Peace River Sail & Power Squadron is dedicated to teaching the proper and safe way to operate a sail or power boat. Located in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte area of Florida, the unit is a division of The United States Power Squadrons®, the world’s largest recreational boating organization with more than 35,000 members.
For more than 100 years, the Power Squadron has worked to make the water a safer place through boating education, civic service and fellowship. It also offers ways to improve your boating skills and knowledge online, in the classroom with certified instructors, or outdoors with hands-on training.

Tags:  2015-16Life Jacket Loaner Program  Americas Boating Club  Sea Tow Charlotte Harbor  US Power Squadrons 

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