Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron encourages islanders to be safe on the water

Submitted

While May is National Safe Boating Month, the Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron (MISP) believes every day of every month is Safe Boating Day.

MISP member Charlie Gentry recently wrote an excellent article about an incident that occurred well offshore on board the Blue Chip, a boat he was delivering. A fire broke out and the training he had received during his time with the squadron is credited as being the reason for a happy ending to a rather serious event. He knew what to do (and not do) and the fire was quickly contained and extinguished. Safe boating means being prepared for and knowing what to do if something unforeseen happens.

MISP offers the training, skills, knowledge and experience to make operating a boat a safe and enjoyable experience. We offer many educational courses throughout the year, ranging from our introductory "America’s Boating Course to Seamanship, Piloting and Navigation" to special seminars on topics such as "Charting and GPS usage."

This season alone, 72 people took our "America’s Boating Course" and thus became better equipped and more knowledgeable on how to safely enjoy our waters. We are planning to offer this same course later this year to students at Marco Island Academy hoping to educate our youth about safe boating, too. And over the Fourth of July holiday, we plan to offer a two-hour boating safety course to children eight to 10 years old. We also have a classroom vessel trainer and on-the-water training available to our members.

Everyone can help make every day a safer boating opportunity. Passengers and crew need to heed the directions and guidance of the vessel captain. Experienced boaters can encourage safety on the water by doing some easy but important pre-departure planning:

  • Show the crew where the personal safety devices (PFD’s) are stored
  • Demonstrate to the crew/passengers how to use the marine radio
  • Educate the crew/passengers on their responsibilities in the event of an emergency
  • Ensure that children wear their PFD’s at all times while on the boat
  • Leave a float plan with a trusted individual
  • Explain the importance of observing the posted 'rules of the road’

The list of planning and preparation is almost endless, but the results and rewards are a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.

Emergencies are never planned, so preparation and awareness of good safety measures is so important. Ensuring your boat is in safe operating condition is vital. To this end, MISP has a team of trained vessel inspectors who conducted a record 215 free boat safety checks this year.

We are blessed to live with beautiful water and unlimited boating opportunities all around us. Safe boating is a gift earned by careful preparation and attention to details. MISP is eager and able to aid your enjoyment of safe boating. We invite you to come for the boating knowledge...we welcome you to stay for the friends.

While May is National Safe Boating Month, the Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron (MISP) believes every day of every month is Safe Boating Day. The organization offers a variety of educational classes to assist with boating safety.

For more information about MISP and education possibilities, visit MarcoIslandSailandPowerSquadron.org or 1114 N. Collier Blvd. Or contact Education Officer Edward (Ted) Reiss at captted@yahoo.com or 239-213-8722.