Give the Gift of Safety
by Wayne Spivak, Branch Chief -Training Department - USCG
determine that ultimate holiday gift for yourself or a seafaring
loved one? The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary has the perfect answer –
give the gift of safety and take one of the many boating educational
courses offered throughout the year.
For the first time
boater, we have Boating Safely. This National Association of State
Boating Law Administrator’s (NASBLA)-approved course teaches the
basics of boating safety. Lights, emergency procedures, and required
equipment are all covered in this 8-hour class. This course normally
satisfies state educational requirements (contact your state boating
office for exact details).
Those who are
interested in more than just the basics, but don’t want to get heavy
into navigation, may be interested in our Boating Skills and
Seamanship Course. This course tries to answer the question of which
boat is best for you and what equipment you need (in addition to
required equipment). We talk about trailing your boat and boat
handling. After we’ve left that proverbial dock, we learn about the
Rules of the Road and the signposts or buoyage.
Along the voyage,
you’d like to stop, so we talk about marlinespike (lines and knots),
and you’d also like to start again, so we go over powering your
boat. Other topics include weather, your VHF radio, and other items
For those true
sailors out there (the type that enjoys using canvas to harness the
energy of the wind), we provide Sailing Skills & Seamanship. This course,
which satisfies the classroom portion of the American Sailing
Association certification process, covers a diverse set of topics.
In order to sail, you need to understand your energy source, so we
talk about the wind, boat trim, sail handling, as well as the
responsibilities of skipper and crew. Safety is discussed, as it
pertains to your personal safety, the crew and the boat. Part of a
safety education includes understanding the Rules of the Road,
buoyage and seamanship skills.
We also offer
a course entitled Navigating with GPS. This course discusses how a
GPS works. It does not teach you how to use your specific GPS
(because there are so many brands and models). This two-hour course
covers basic navigation principles, because a solid background in
navigation will increase your understanding of how to navigate with
a GPS. Understanding the principles behind GPS navigation is crucial
if you want to avoid hitting that island the lies between your dock
and your destination.
For a full list of courses offerred, please visit www.cgaux.org/boatinged.
Any time of year
is the perfect time to stay nautical and increase your awareness of
your boating environment. Take a boating course today.
information, contact your local Coast Guard Auxillary Flotilla by
either finding them on
http://www.cgaux.org or contacting your local Coast Guard unit
ABA has joined forces with the U.S. Coast Guard to help promote its
new public safe boating outreach initiative – “You’re in Command.”
This initiative encourages all recreational boaters to take
responsibility for their actions on the water. And, an easy and
effective way to improve your boating skills is by taking America’s
Boating Course, a new basic, boating course, available to take
online, via CD-Rom, or in a classroom setting – whichever you
prefer. You can study at your own pace... on your own time... any
place you have a computer to use.
According to the
U.S. Coast Guard, about 80 percent of all boating fatalities
occurred on boats where the operator had not completed a boating
safety education course. Now you can make sure that you don’t become
another statistic by taking the ABC. Learn more at