ONLINE UPDATE: Boat safety course teaches skills, common sense

by Kelly Corbett
Friday, February 15, 2013

With increased use of the local waterways and more modes of transportation, the Wrightsville Beach Coast Guard Auxiliary Boating Skills and Seamanship class offers insight into rules and boat handling along with common sense and courtesy tips for driving vessels.

Paul Best, auxiliary member and licensed Coast Guard captain, has been teaching the course for seven years and has been boating for about 30 years.

“This class is a fairly in-depth class,” he said. “It’s designed toward new boaters and novice boaters, however I’ve found that even experienced boaters will pick up things that perhaps they never knew or had learned incorrectly the first time or forgot. It makes a good refresher as well.”

The course also qualifies for the mandatory North Carolina educational boating safety course law for anyone under the age of 26 operating a powerboat.

The $45, 10-lesson course begins Monday, Feb. 18, and will run for five weeks on Monday and Thursday evenings from 7-9 p.m., at the Fran Russ Recreation Center in Wrightsville Beach.

Boaters can sign up for the class the day of or shortly after the five-week course begins. An abbreviated version of the course will be held beginning on April 22.

“What we cover, for example, is boat handling, lines and knots, navigation aids, we talk about weather, communication radios, rules and regulations,” Best said. “The one thing that I want to try to stress to folks is the use of safety equipment and, above all, common sense and courtesy on the water. We’ve got a lot more paddleboarders and kayaks in our area. It’s vitally important that we try to stress sharing the waters with everybody. We can’t have large boats crashing down the waterway and throwing up a huge wake for the small boaters and the kayakers.”

The course will also delve into legal requirements for boats, accident reports, marine examinations, waterway marks, selecting a propeller, course plotting and correcting a compass reading.

Best said the one takeaway from the course is common sense and courtesy on the waterway.

“If you use common sense in terms of safety, that will go a long way to make everyone have a good day,” he said.

For more information or to sign up for a class, contact Paul Best at (910) 686-5546.


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