Monday, 17 June 2024

Coast Guard Auxiliary plans boating class Saturday

LAKE COUNTY – Many remember the S.S. Minnow from the 1960s Sitcom “Gilligan’s Island.” that voyage was crewed by a mighty sailing man (Gilligan) and a sure and brave skipper. They were only going to be out for a three-hour tour but ran into some bad weather.

What most people don’t know is that the brave and sure skipper never filed a float plan, failed to check the weather forecast, and did not carry an emergency positioning indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). The outcome was an extended stay on an uncharted island.

Filing a float plan with friends, relatives or a local marina increases your chances of surviving what can be a deadly situation. When properly completed, the float plan contains information to make a search faster and easier, increasing the probability of a positive outcome. In the case of the Minnow, it was quite entertaining to see the antics of these stranded boaters. In real life, these situations occur, but they aren’t nearly so funny.

A float plan asks such questions as what type of boat, what is your proposed itinerary, do you have a radio, how many people on board, and so on. The answers can shorten the process of locating a missing boater, and an EPIRB takes the search out of “search and rescue.”

Although we have made a little light out of the voyage of the Minnow, safe boating and seamanship is no joke. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering boating safety classes this Saturday, April 12, as well as on May 10 and June 21.

Signaling devices and float plans are a fraction of the information offered in this one day classes. With the boating season bursting open, do your family, friends and yourself a service and be an informed boat operator. Eight out of 10 boat operators have never taken a boating class.

Taking a class just might save your life. Some parents require their teenager(s) to take a boating class. In terms of wise boating, this is right up there with filing a float plan and having sufficiently appropriate signaling devices.

Contact Betty Strach, 928-9811, Flotilla Staff Officer for Public Education, for information about these classes. America’s Boating Course is a boating course approved by the United States Coast Guard.


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