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Safe at Sea: Safe boating in Southwest Florida’s waterways

By PAT SCHMIDT - | Oct 20, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED “Safe Boating in Southwest Florida (Cape Coral Edition)”

Reaching back to March, folks have had to be quite creative with their ample spare time. In response to, “What have you been up to?” or “How have you been keeping yourself busy?” I’ve heard a myriad of responses ranging from woodworking to home repair/remodel to (trying) learning a new language.

However, when asked that very same question, Tom Dawson, with the Cape Coral Sail and Power Squadron noted, “I can reply, ‘Wrote and published a book.'” Hard to beat that!

Titled “Safe Boating in Southwest Florida (Cape Coral Edition),” his book sprang from a keen interest in local boating knowledge for boaters new to our waters. In an article in “The Buoys” — their squadron’s newsletter — Dawson wrote: “We all know that boaters new to the waters around Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Pine Island and the barrier island of Pine Island Sound are surprised to learn how different our waterways are to any they have experienced in other parts of the country.”

Available on Amazon, his book delves into the unique features of our waters (convergence of four waterways — Caloosahatchee River meets San Carlos Bay, Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass), all of which produce difficult-to-navigate shallow and/or narrow channels. The book attempts to help new and experienced boaters understand where the many and varying (main and side) channels can take them.

Dawson concluded his article with two suggestions:

– The book would make a good welcome gift to your new neighbors to help them get “grounded” on what to expect once they make it to the end of their canal and are heading out.

– While the book includes basic boating information, it underscores the need for boaters to take courses.

The America’s Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva will offer two such courses this fall: America’s Boating Course in December, and Boat Handling at the end of October.

So, “What have you accomplished during the pandemic?”

Pat Schmidt is a member of America’s Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva. For more about the chapter and its boating education courses, visit www.sancapboating.club or contact education@sanibelcaptivasps.org or 612-987-2125.