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Courtesy vessel safety checks offered

By Staff | Feb 12, 2015

Cape Coral Sail and the Power Squadron want to make sure when you hit the open waters that your boat is good to go. And their concern will not cost local boaters dime.

Free confidential vessel safety checks will be made by the Cape Coral Sail and Power Squadron at Cape Harbour Marina every Saturday and Sunday during February from 11a.m. – 3 p.m. The checks are a service to boaters in Lee County as a way to make sure their vessels are safe.

No appointment is necessary. The vessel safety check verifies that each boat has the required safety equipment on board and that it is in good working condition.

Steve Gustafson, commander of the Power Squadron, said the checks are to make sure the vessel has the correct equipment on board so that the Coast Guard doesn’t have to.

“We check for life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers and float cushions. We’ve been doing this since the Power Squadron has been around, and that’s about 100 years,” Gustafson said.”We’ve been doing it for 20 to 30 years here.”

Vessels that pass the review will be given a sticker for display which enables the U.S. Coast Guard and other waterborne authorities to know that it has been inspected.

If boat owners would prefer a review done at their home dock, they can fill out a card and contact the Cape Coral Sail and Power Squadron at 549-9754 or go online at www.powersquadroncapecoral.org and request a vessel safety check.

“The scary part is between the four squadrons we inspected about 1,200 boats. In Lee County there are 60,000 boats. They can be inspected by the Coast Guard, which they don’t want to do,” Gustafson said. “I don’t know of anyone except us or the Coast Guard Auxiliary who will do this for free.”

Gustafson said while he gets a few boats that shouldn’t be on the water, most boat owners are trying to be correct.

The Power Squadron is a national organization for boater safety. The Cape Coral Sail and Power squadron, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, has 560 members, making it the largest squadron in the country.

There are four Power squadrons in Lee County, in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Sanibel and San Carlos.

They teach safety classes, including the American Boater Course (ABC), which makes you eligible to join the Squadron, Gustafson said.

“We’re here to serve the community and keep our people safe on the water. That’s our whole purpose,” Gustafson said.