Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Safety first for the Marco Island Sailing Regatta

Flotilla 95 coxswains kept boaters and racers safe during the recent MIYC Regatta. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Flotilla 95 coxswains kept boaters and racers safe during the recent MIYC Regatta. SUBMITTED PHOTO


The USCG Auxiliary has many responsibilities including boating education, vessel safety checks, environmental protection, but one of the most important is promoting boating safety. So when the Marco Island Yacht Club asked the USCG Auxiliary to conduct a safety patrol for their annual sailing regatta in front of Residence Beach, Flotilla 95 was happy to be of service.

The Marco Island Yacht Club’s annual sailing regatta has multiple race-courses and multiple categories of sail boats, including fast multi-hulls and cruisers. The sailing regatta also has multiple races taking place at the same time. As a result, the racers must be alert at all times during the race to avoid a collision with any other sailboat.

The sailing regatta is governed by its own set of rules and regulations that apply to all participants. Boats under sail have the right f way over power boats. Spectator boats entering into the race-courses will create distractions and potentially a wake, which can throw a sailboat off course, making it lose wind-power and help create an unsafe environment. Therefore, the courses need to be clear of spectator boats and personal water crafts (PWCs). This affords the racers the opportunity to concentrate on the race without worrying about spectator boats crossing the course.

To keep the racers as safe as possible, the Flotilla 95 can help maintaining the integrity of the course. We are able to patrol the perimeter of the course alerting spectator boats and PWCs to keep clear of the racers. This allows the racers the ability to concentrate on the race and worry less about spectators crossing the course.

The race got off to a great start. Flotilla 95 was patrolling the perimeter from mark to mark. Shortly after the start of the race, we observed two PWCs cutting through the courses creating a distraction for the racers. We approached one of the PWCs operators and requested they stay outside of the race-course. As it turns out, the PWCs’ operators were unaware of the sailing regatta and didn’t know they needed to stay outside of the race-course. The PWC operators were happy to comply with our requests and stayed outside the race perimeter.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of educating boaters to ensure a safer environment for everyone. For more information about boating safety, Flotilla 95 offers many boating classes. From the Boating Skills & Seamanship classes to the Boater Local Knowledge, there is a class for everyone. Please email Marian Harris at flotilla95fsope@gmail.com for more information about the classes offered.


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