Deck the Hulls: Boating safety course

Post co-authored by Michael Baron, USCG Recreational Boating Safety Specialist.

Looking for the perfect gift for the boater on your holiday list? The holiday season is a perfect time to arm your friends and family with safe boating essentials. No matter what the time or temperature, it is always important to encourage your loved ones to “boat responsibly.” Over the next two weeks the Compass will feature gift-giving ideas that every boating enthusiast will love, but more importantly will keep them safe.

Boating Safety Course

Gifting a boating safety course allows the boater on your holiday list, no matter what their age, to learn vital safe boating skills. Photo courtesy of Auxiliary Flotilla 10-02, 1st Southern Region.

Enrolling your loved one in a boating safety course is one of the best gifts to give, because, as the saying goes…knowledge is power.

A knowledgable mariner will teach your favorite boater basic boat handling principles, required and recommended safety equipment, navigational rules and how to deal with boating emergencies. Statistics show that boaters who have taken a boating safety course are far less likely to be involved in a boating accident or fatality.

HELP position

One of the things a boater can learn in a boating safety course is the HELP position. HELP stands for Heat Escape Lessening Posture and is a survival method used to conserve heat if you have fallen in to cold water.

Boating safety courses are offered nationwide by qualified state and volunteer organizations, such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons. There are also private and commercial providers who offer training for all levels of boating proficiency.

Courses can be taken in a traditional classroom setting, or for the busy boater, some courses are internet or computer-based, affording the boater the opportunity to learn in the comfort of their own home and on their own time.

Courses are offered throughout the year with many different pricing options. Some have a nominal fee, and there are even courses available for free, perfect for those on a tight budget during the holiday season.

Another great thing about gifting a boating safety course is that classes are taught for boaters of all ages, so no matter the age of your loved one, you can supply them with the knowledge that may one day save their life.

You can go online to find courses from the Coast Guard Auxiliary here, or the U.S. Power Squadrons here. Also, don’t forget to check with your state’s boating agency to see what courses are offered in you area.

Whether a beginning boater or a seasoned sailor with years on the water, taking a recreational boating safety course will teach them the latest in safe boating. Enrolling someone in a boating safety course also gives you a gift back in return – the peace of mind that your beloved boating enthusiast is more prepared on the water.

The U.S. Coast Guard asks all boat owners and operators to help reduce fatalities, injuries, property damage, and associated healthcare costs related to recreational boating accidents by taking personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers. The U.S. Coast Guard reminds all boaters to “Boat Responsibly!”

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