Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Local Knowledge Makes Boating Safer

Photo by Howard Laskau |Local knowledge will help Marco Island boaters avoid running aground.

Photo by Howard Laskau |Local knowledge will help Marco Island boaters avoid running aground.

Boating Safety Tips From Flotilla 95
Howard Laskau

There are two types of boaters on Marco Island –those who have
run aground and those that will!

The waters around Marco Island are constantly changing. If you are either new to boating or new to Marco Island, The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary on Marco Island’s Boater’s Local Knowledge [Marco Island Area] and Boater’s Local Knowledge – Backwater Edition [10,000 Islands] classes are just for you.

In the Boater’s Local Knowledge [BLK] class you will gain knowledge of navigating around Marco Island and the surrounding areas. Since Marco is an island, you need to know when you are returning from sea vs. going out to sea. In addition to learning how to navigate around Marco Island, popular destinations such as Cape Romano, The Esplanade, Keewaydin Island and Naples are also reviewed through a combination of aerial and on-water photography.

The Boater’s Local Knowledge – Backwater Edition [BLK-BW] begins where the Boater’s Local Knowledge class ends. If you do not have prior boating experience, it is strongly recommend you take the BLK course prior to the BLK-BW class since the course is designed for the more intermediate to advanced boater who wants to learn about the 10,000 Islands, and how to safely navigate in the “backwaters.” Again, aerial and on-water photos will orient you to the “backwaters.” History, geography of the area and special rules and regulations that apply when operating your vessel in Everglades National Park are covered. Emphasis is placed on understanding the different tides and tide stations encountered in a journey to the 10,000 Islands. Students will leave this class with the knowledge that will enable them to safely navigate six selected routes from Goodland to Sandfly Pass, where they can go sightseeing, fishing, kayaking or camping.

Both classes are presented by experienced Coast Guard Auxiliary staff who, in addition to teaching this class, also have extensive on-water experience on the Marco Island waterways and 10,000 Islands.

Class members for either class should bring TopSpot chart # N204 to the class. The chart is available at Walker’s Marine, Ace Hardware, and other marine outlets. You will want to mark up the chart during the classes for future reference.

Please visit the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary website at uscgauxmarco.org for course offerings and schedules, or you may contact Joe Riccio at flotilla95fsope@gmail.com for information and registration. Seating is limited.

If you’d like information about joining the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, please contact Bob Shmihluk at 215-694-3305.

Boating Safety Tips From Flotilla 95

Coastal Breeze News is pleased to bring readers a new column, Boating Safety With the USCGA. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCGA) Flotilla 95, District 7, Division 9 covers the area from Rookery Bay to Chokoloskee Pass, including Marco Island and the 10 Thousand Islands. In every column, the USCGA will share their knowledge and expertise with our readers to help keep them safe on the water.

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