DO BOATERS KNOW WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW?
Did you know that it is illegal to tie your boat to a channel marker? Do you know the difference in the color of
a marker designating safe water on both sides and a marker indicating a hazard to navigation? Do you know
the proper way to fuel your boat, avoiding the possibility of a static electricity discharge and an explosion? If
your answer is no, then join the ranks of so many boat owners who think they are safe when they power up
that brand new boat and head out on the open water.
Fortunately, the United States Power Squadrons® offers America’s Boating Course (ABC) that enables new
boat owners to learn the ways of the sea and to gain confidence in safe boating practices. The begins with
nautical terms, types of boats, basic construction and propulsion, effects on sea worthiness and other issues
that will help you to select the proper boat for your needs. Boat handling instruction includes an explanation
of your responsibilities as your boat’s r, required and recommended equipment, fueling, turning, backing,
passing, handling rough water and other adverse conditions. Learn about the legal responsibilities for your
wake, homeland security measures, licensing, and operation of marine radios, federal and state regulations,
and a myriad of other basics.
The ABC class also includes the basics of navigation and piloting, use of charts and compass, recognition of
navigation markers and the use of sound signals. It also covers personal watercraft operation.
Other classes that may be available in your area include NAVIGATION, the ultimate way to sail the seas using
every tool from modern electronics to celestial stars and planets; WEATHER, which shows how to anticipate
conditions and to know what the conditions may mean to a boater; MARINE ELECTRONICS, information in
basic terms covering operation, maintenance, corrosion and electrolysis along with diagnoses and repair of
electrical equipment problems; and, ENGINE MAINTENANCE which explains the basic mechanical systems
along with sufficient diagnoses and repairs to enable you to get home.
Membership in the Power Squadrons opens the door to many social events with fellow boaters and is a great
way to learn best cruising venues in local waters. There are frequent cruises to local destinations - planned
and led by experienced captains, all of whom are fully educated in the fundamentals of boating. It is a great
way to learn the local waters enjoying the camaraderie of fellow boaters.
For those who lack knowledge, a boating motto could well become: “Boating can be dangerous, costly, and
miserable.” So, if you are buying a new boat, take a course that will give you knowledge and confidence. For
information on up-coming classes, and, in some areas, on–the-water-training, contact your local Power
Squadron unit New River Sail & Power or go to the national website at www.usps.org.
As their members remind us: “Boating is fun…We’ll show you how!”