Boating Class is a Smart Course to Take

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (7/04/98)
By Ray Pendleton

Safe boating is no accident.

This attention-getting play on words from the Honolulu Power Squadron really tells it like it is. Safe boating experiences happen when boaters have learned the necessary skills to competently and properly operate their vessels.

As an indication of the validity of that statement, recent statistics show that fewer accidents are caused by boaters who have taken boating safety classes, hence, many insurance underwriters offer as much as a 15 percent discount on liability coverage to those who have completed such courses.

Licencing has also been shown to reduce accidents, but unlike automobile drivers, recreational boat operators are not yet required to be licenced. Currently, several states with substantially more boating congestion than Hawai`i are considering enacting laws to that effect.

Unbelievably, the National Transportation Safety Board estimates less than 22 percent of the nation's boaters have taken a safe boating course, and yet the United States Power Squadron - America's largest private boating organization - has taught more than 3 million students how to be better boaters.

In an effort to attract boaters, or potential boaters, who have not been able to find the time for some of its lengthier courses, the Honolulu Power Squadron has recently announced a new two-session "Boat Smart" course which will begin on July 11 and end on July 18.

The classes will be held at the Waikiki Yacht Club - near the Diamond Head entrance to Ala Moana Park - from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. As with all Power Squadron courses, except for a small charge for study materials, they are free.

The Boat Smart course, although compressed in time, will cover many of the subjects found in the Power Squadron's multi-week classes.

There will be lectures and self-study lessons dealing with the techniques of safe power and sailboat handling, anchoring, basic knot-tying, chart-reading, course-plotting, compass-reading, and proper marine radiotelephone procedures. Additionally, the aids to navigation - buoys, range markers and lights - will be explained in illustrated lectures.

By spending just two Saturday mornings with the Honolulu Power Squadron, you could potentially lower your boat's insurance, save damage to it or to someone else's, and keep yourself and your friends and family out of harm's way.

The Boat Smart course is open to all who are interested - teenagers and up - but, the seating is limited, so early enrollment is advised as it will be on a first-come, first-served basis. You may register by phone by calling William McGarry at 422-1963.

Should you be in a place to notice - in Lahaina, Kaneohe, Waikiki, or maybe on a mountain top or an interisland flight - you will start seeing a lot more sailboats in Hawaiian waters this month.

The 1998 Vic-Maui Race, sponsored by Coopers and Lybrand, started a week and a half ago in Victoria, Canada and its fleet should begin arriving in Lahaina, Maui, next week.

While that race is finishing, the 10th biennial West Marine Pacific Cup - with a record 80-plus boats - will begin pulling into Kaneohe Yacht Club from San Francisco.

And last but not least, the 11th biennial Kenwood Cup International Offshore Series will begin off Waikiki Beach on August 3.

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