The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 95 recently hosted a boating safety course in Caxambas Park, coinciding with National Safe Boating Week.
The free course, offered through the Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers, helped familiarize boat owners with all the required equipment and procedures to be safe on the water, and provided certification for their vessels. For those who were unable to attend the course, a wide variety of other safety programs are offered throughout the year for a small fee, ranging from basic skills to navigation of Marco Island’s backwater areas.
“This year in the Marco area there’s been about a dozen or so injuries and about ten deaths,” said Coast Guard Auxiliary member Walter Jaskiewicz, who works at the station. He stressed the importance of wearing life jackets and general readiness in case of emergencies.
“We have an aging population here in Marco Island and very few of them have taken a boating safety course,” Jaskiewicz said, adding that for their safety it’s highly recommended to take the various courses offered by the Axillary and other boating organizations around the island.
Offering some professional advice, Jaskiewicz recommends that every boater shouldn’t leave port with at least two anchors and properly-fitted life jackets for all people on board – something which he says many people neglect. Other devices such as the West Marine VHF595 radio can send a trackable distress signal to the coast guard station, he said, a useful tool for those who might encounter an emergency on the water.
Additionally, the Auxiliary hosted an open house where a vast assortment of equipment and memorabilia was on display to the public, as well as the proposed plan for an entirely new facility at the edge of Caxambas Park which they hope will break ground within the next nine months.
The new building will replace their current double-wide facility which has been in use for the last twenty years, being proposed as a raised concrete structure which will host their new offices, improved emergency radio system and a ranger station.