By Natalie Strom
For more than 40 years, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 95 has been offering boating education programs on Marco Island. Its mission is simple: “contribute to the safety and security of our citizens, ports, and waterways.” It’s motto is direct: Semper Paratus – Always Ready. Through its education programs, Flotilla 95 is ensuring that all local boaters are informed and prepared.
Recently wrapping its first round of courses, Flotilla 95 has set its eyes on the New Year as it prepares for the 2013. Below is a list of classes and their descriptions. Sign up soon to ensure a spot and a safe season on the seas.
Boating Skills and Seamanship
This course covers it all. Described as essential for every boater, it covers Florida boating laws, equipment for your boat, handling your boat, your “highway” signs, rules of the nautical road, boating safety, radio, weather, navigation and lines and knots. The course runs two days a week for four weeks.
Dates: January 14 – February 7, February 25 – March 21, July 8 – August 1 and October 14 – November 7.
Boaters Local Knowledge
This class provides practical information about the various waterways in and around Marco Island and the Ten Thousand Island. Aerial photos and on the water photos are extensively used to orient you to the area and help you safely enjoy the waters around Marco Island. This is a three hour course.
Dates: January 25, February 22, March 22 and November 11.
The GPS class focuses on hands-on practical exercises with a GPS. Students use a provided Garmin GPS. This course is spread over two days at three hours per session.
Dates: January 30 & February 1, March 6 & 8 and November 14 & 15.
Suddenly in Command
SIC, as it is referred to, is a full day program which provides classroom and on water instruction for the First Mate just in case you find yourself “Suddenly in Command” of the boat. The course provides classroom instruction as well as practical exercises on the water.
Dates: February 12, March 12.
This eight-hour class presented over two days focuses on how to navigate using paper charts and how to deal with tides, currents and the effect of wind. This is the background you need to best use electronic charting.
Dates: February 18 & 20
Hurricanes and Your Boat
This program has been developed to help you protect your boat in a hurricane. It is a two hour class.
Dates: May 23, June 20, July 30
The USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 95 also provides speakers to present to groups discussing the highlights of the Auxiliary and the history and missions of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Flotilla 95.
A free vessel safety check is also offered by the Auxiliary. Make sure your boat has the required safety equipment to meet federal, state and local regulations.
During the spring, Flotilla 95 also participates in Waterwise at the Marco Island YMCA. Developed by Dottie Weiner of the Y, the program teaches elementary aged children of Naples and Marco Island the importance of boating and water safety. Every year, Flotilla 95 teaches these children how to use a radio, properly wear a life vest, rescue techniques and more.
Flotilla 95 always welcomes new members. To learn more about what the Coast Guard Auxiliary has to offer as well as class pricing, call Doug Johnson at (239) 642-8406 or the Coastguard Auxiliary Station at (239) 394-5911.