Monday, June 14, 2021

An Educated Boater is a Safer Boater!



In the past 50 years of conducting patrols on the waters of Marco Island and the 10,000 Islands, the volunteer members of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCGAux), Flotilla 95 Marco Island, have seen it all: excessive speed in “no-wake” zones; boaters not observing the collision regulations or right of way; straying outside marked channels; vessels run aground or stranded in the back waters; vessels operated in an unsafe manner; spouses unable to operate the vessel or call for help; vessels not equipped with the required and recommended safety equipment; and many, many more instances of inadequate knowledge and sometimes dangerous activity by the recreational boating community.

Unfortunately, unlike some other states, Florida does not require any kind of formal training or instruction before purchasing or operating a recreational vessel if born before January 1, 1988.

The solution: Enroll in a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved basic or advanced boating course taught by the certified instructors of the “Uniformed Volunteer Arm of Team Coast Guard.”

For 2018, Flotilla 95 is offering the following courses to the boating public: Boating Skills and Seamanship (BS&S): The most comprehensive basic boating instruction program offered. It is taught over four weeks, on Mondays and Thursdays from 7 PM to 9:30 PM and includes the following topics: Which Boat Is For You; Equipment For Your Boat; Trailering Your Boat; Handling Your Boat; Your “Highway” Signs; The Rules You Must Follow; Inland Boating; The Rest Of Our Story; Introduction To Navigation; Powering Your Boat; Lines & Knots For Your Boat; Weather & Boating; Your Boat’s Radio. In addition, the course provides a mandatory section on Florida specific boating laws and regulations.

Upon satisfactory completion of the course, the student will qualify to receive a Florida issued Boater Safety Identification Card (BSIC), which is required for any individual born after January 1, 1988 to operate a motorized vessel of more than 10 h.p. Many insurance companies offer discounts with proof of the BSIC. Classes: 2/26/18-3/22/18; & 7/9/18-8/2/18. Suddenly in Command: This course is a full-day program that includes classroom and on-the-water instruction. It is designed for “First Mates” or anyone who someday may find themselves “Suddenly in Command.” Do you know how to use the radio to get help? Do you know how to read and report your position?

Do you know how to operate your boat? If not, this course may be for you. All attendees will operate a boat, and become familiar with the use of the VHF marine radio, GPS and the safety equipment. Classes: 2/22/18 & 3/22/18. Boaters’ Local Knowledge- Marco Island: This course provides practical information on how to navigate various waterways in and around Marco Island. Aerial and on water photos are used throughout the course and allow attendees to actually see the areas they will be taking their boats through. This course is recommended for new, novice, and intermediate boaters, or boaters who are new to this area. Classes: 1/22/18; 2/12/18; 3/12/18; 4/2/18. Boater’s Local Knowledge Backwater Edition: This course begins where Boater’s Local Knowledge ends, and provides those who want to explore the backwaters of the 10,000 Islands with the information they will need to safely navigate this unique area. Geography, tides and other navigating factors are thoroughly discussed. Aerial photos are used extensively in this course to aid boaters in knowing where to go… and where not to go. Six routes into the 10,000 Islands are reviewed in the class. This course is recommended for intermediate boaters and above. Classes: 1/23/18; 2/13/18; 3/13/18; 4/3/18.

All courses are taught at the USCGAux Station, Caxambas Park, 905 Collier Court, Marco Island.

For more information about these boating courses offered by the USCGAux, contact Public Education Officer Joe Riccio at 239-384-7416 or CGAUXCOURSES@ GMAIL.COM. If you are interested in joining or finding out more about the USCGAux, contact Human Resources Officer Robert Shmihluk at 239-394-5911 or

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