Safe boating courses
could save a boat - or a life

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (01/08/00)
By Ray Pendleton

Windward and leeward - two words referring to wind direction that all sailors and we island dwellers understand.

In Hawai`, the northeast tradewinds are so consistent that the entire northeast side of O`ahu, from Kailua to Kahuku, is referred to as Windward O`ahu. On the other hand, a school on the opposite side of the island is aptly named Leeward Community College.

For boaters, the leeward side of an island usually provides the most protected sailing and anchorages and, because the wind blows from the land, if an anchor drags, or a boat looses power, it is blown away from trouble and out to sea.

The problem is that occasionally our tradewinds abandon us and suddenly the wind begins gusting from the south. That usually means rain, or at least muggy weather for the island's population, but it creates a special hazard for leeward coast sailors.

A change of 180 degrees in wind direction will often dislodge an anchor and, if a boat is without power or an anchor, it will likely drift with the wind to its destruction on shore.

Generally, such tragedies can be avoided, though, when boaters have learned proper seamanship, either from long experience or through formal education.

For those who haven't the time to spend years at sea, taking the safe boating courses offered by the U.S. Power Squadron and the Coast Guard Auxiliary are the perfect alternative.

At 7 p.m. on Monday, January 17, the Honolulu Power Squadron will begin another of its seven-session safe boating courses designed for new and old salts. Enrollment is open to teenagers and above and it is free, except for a nominal charge for study materials.

Virtually every aspect of of safe boating will be covered through class lectures and self-study lessons. Some of the highlights will be:
Basic boating terminology.
Boat handling - focusing on power, sail and personal water craft (jet skis).
Basic navigation and anchoring skills.
Basic compass reading.
Understanding aids to navigation, including buoys and range markers.
Marine radiotelephone procedures.
Marine weather and charts.
Basic marine emergency procedures.
Basic knot tying.
State and federal boating laws and regulations.

Along with receiving a great education in safe boating, graduates may also find their boat insurance rates can be lowered, as many companies consider graduates a better risk.

Because the Power Squadron course tends to fill up quickly, it is advised you call 846-900 as soon as possible to enroll.

There is a little more time to enroll in the Coast Guard Auxiliary's very similar boating skills and seamanship course, which is scheduled to begin on January 31.

Those classes will be conducted every Monday and Thursday, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., through March 16, at Kalaheo High School in Kaneohe.

To enroll in the Coast Guard Auxiliary's course, or for more information, call Bob Airhart at 247-3793.

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