Hi gang Rick here again from Used Pontoon Boats on boater education. An interesting article from the LAKE OF THE OZARKS. The potentially hazardous conditions on the lake prompted Janet Foley of Camden County to take her first Coast Guard Auxiliary Boating Skills and Seamanship class three years ago. It would not be her last.
'I think everyone, young or mature, needs to know the basic rules. It makes everyone safer,' Foley said. 'But you should never expect anyone else out there to know the rules.'
Foley took the course for the first time three years ago. She listened and absorbed the information, but had limited participation. The following year, she signed on for the class a second time, now armed with more information.
I decided I wanted to start asking questions, Foley said. The course is extensive and allows students to specialize in areas of interest. It's a huge knowledge pool. You can take from it what you want, Foley said.
The art of tying knots was Foley's main fascination. When she started the class, she did not know how to untie a boat after it had been tied to a dock with a granny knot. Placing figure eights on a cleat with a half hitch or tying the versatile bowline knot is now her forte.
Foley, and her husband Tony Dietz, purchased a 26-foot pontoon boat 14 years ago. We had limited knowledge. We had gone out with friends lots of times, Foley said. Ignorance is bliss and if you don't have a clue, you are totally off the mark. At least I knew I didn't have a clue and took the course.
Her husband did not attend the class. I guess he felt he didn't have to, she said. I spent hours telling him about it. We go out all the time together, so I am his walking book.
Foley has assumed responsibly for ensuring that all safety gear including a life jacket for each passenger is on board. One of the most important guidelines that Foley walked away with after taking the course is it does not matter who is in the right and who is wrong, boaters need to do whatever is necessary to stay safe.
The 2008 Boating Skills and Seamanship classes get underway Feb. 19 and will run for six Tuesdays. Each two-hour session will be held at 7 p.m. at Central Bank in Osage Beach.
Students will invest $30 to cover the cost of the instructional book. Couples or families willing to share a book can purchase a single book and pay $5 for each additional person within their group, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary public education officer Jack Williams said.
The course goes beyond the basics and covers boating rules and regulations, choosing a vessel, handling and trailering, waterway markings and other topics that every boater should be familiar with before heading out onto the water.
The class is conducted as an informal presentation that encourages student interaction. Although the course is not rigidly structured, the material is thoroughly covered, Williams said.
Boating experts within the community teach specific sections of the course. For example, a Missouri National Guard communications officer taught the radio section of the course, Williams said.
The course meets and exceeds the mandatory education requirement set by the Missouri Water Patrol for all boat operators born after Jan, 1, 1984. Once completed, the certificate can be used to satisfy the state requirement and could possibly lower insurance premiums, Williams said.
One advantage of the Coast Guard program is it not only teaches about boating on a lake, but also on rivers and inland waterways and places where boaters will find currents and debris not common on the lake.
For more information, call Williams at 365-2779. Thanks to Brian Fleagle, lakesunleader.com for this.
Used Pontoon Boats, By Rick Ostler
Used Pontoon Boats-North American Waterway
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