A few years ago, I would look at my boating friends mournfully, hoping they would invite me along on their outings. (Thankfully, they frequently did.) It dawned on me one day that I really didn’t have to wait on anyone; I was fully able to create and join in the fun on my own. It just took a little courage, a little coin and finding out where to start.
By poking around on the internet, asking people and looking into the notices in the local papers, I very luckily came to know our own Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron. By taking courses with the Squadron, I learned to do many things. I certainly know I am no Master Mariner, but I am competent enough to take guests and visiting family on waterway tours and beach outings and to join in on the nearby island excursions sponsored by the Power Squadron.
To my mind, safe boating begins with learning about the many things that are necessary to know to protect yourself and your guests when out on the water. Marco waters are tricky, and a really good place to begin is in a classroom with the knowledgeable and experienced members of the Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron. The learning continuum starts with America’s Boating Course, which covers basic seamanship and marine safety and qualifies you for the Florida Boating Education Certification. Courses go all the way up through Navigation, which covers celestial navigation using multiple sites. Elective offerings include, among other things, the weather, marine communications and engine maintenance.
If you are new to Marco, new to boating or merely considering becoming a boater, America’s Boating Course is the place to begin. An upcoming class is starting in early October. It will meet for five nights on Mondays and Thursdays, starting Oct. 6 (10/6, 9, 13, 16 and 20) from 6:00–8:15 PM at the Marco Island Power Squadron’s headquarters: 1114 North Collier Blvd. You can contact Ted Reiss at 239-213-8722 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In any event, if you would like to do more than just watch all the boating activities that go on in and around Marco’s environs, please do check out the Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron at their website marcoislandsailandpowersquadron.org. There you can find the social and boating activities that the Squadron sponsors, along with the listing of advanced courses for the experienced boater. You don’t have to be a boat owner to be in the Power Squadron or to take some of their courses. An interest in safe boating and a desire for friendship with others who want to be out on Marco’s beautiful waters are enough!