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Few spots still remain to sign up for boating class set for Captiva

By Staff | Mar 2, 2018

There are only a handful of seats left in an upcoming America’s Boating Course on Captiva.

Formerly known as the Sanibel Captiva Sail and Power, the Sanibel-Captiva chapter of America’s Boating Club will host the course as a two-part session on March 14 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and March 24 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Captiva Island Yacht Club. It costs $45 and includes materials.

The class size is limited to 14 students, and nine were already registered as of Feb. 22.

“Those that are interested in it need to get going because it’s selling out pretty quickly this year,” Jay Brown, the lead instructor and a member of the Sanibel-Captiva America’s Boating Club, said.

The course covers basic boat operation and safety, with an emphasis on boating the local waters around Sanibel and Captiva. It is designed for those new to boating, as well as experienced boaters who would like to strengthen their boating skills.

“There’s really two different types of students we serve with this course,” he said.

The first is the individual who is new to boating or a new boat owner.

“It’s just a basic boating skills course, but I do a lot to adopt the course to the challenges of boating in our local waters here,” Brown said, noting that the local waterways are not like boating on a lake.

“I try to teach people – experienced boaters – how to find their way around in our local waters and how to do it safely and confidently,” he added. “Without getting lost and without running aground.”

The class uses the United States Power Squadrons’ “America’s Boating Course” textbook.

Brown presents the material using lectures, demonstrations, discussions and navigation charts of the local waterways, including the Pine Island Sound, San Carlos Bay and Caloosahatchie River.

Among the subjects and topics reviewed are:

– U.S. Coast Guard required safety equipment

– Basic boat handling underway and docking

– Navigation rules and right of way

– Navigation aids and channel markers

– Basic navigation, charts and GPS operation

– Anchoring in deep water and on the beach

– VHF Radio operation

– Storms, emergencies and accidents

-Unique characteristics of local area boating

“The first session is pretty much devoted to learning how to read charts of the local waters and how to find your way around local waters,” Brown said, adding that required equipment is also covered.

“The first session is really designed as a tutorial,” he said.

Before the second session, students are required to read and study the textbook.

“The second session, that’s when we teach the specific material in the book,” Brown said.

Completion of the class and passing of a brief exam qualifies students to receive a safe boating ID card from the state. The ID card satisfies the education requirements for operating boats in Florida waters.

“Everyone who passes that test is qualified to get a safe boating ID card,” he said.

Florida law requires that anyone born after Jan. 1, 1988, must have the ID card to operate a boat.

Students must preregister for the course no later than March 9.

“We teach the class three times a year,” Brown said.

The next course will be held in November.

Brown explained, however, that once the March class is full, if enough people still want to take part – about 10 or 12 – he would be open to scheduling another one so they do not have to wait so long.

“I would consider holding another class,” he said.

Brown instructed anyone unable to register to contact him about it.

To register, visit www.usps.org/findacourse and click on “America’s Boating Course.” Enter the local zip code and click on “Locate.” When the list of courses appears, select the March 14 Captiva class.

For more information, contact Brown at 314-807-6860 or jaywbrown1@icloud.com.

The Captiva Island Yacht Club is at 15903 Captiva Drive.