Bellingham squadron to offer boating safety coarse
The Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron plans to offer one of its popular this fall at the Blaine Senior Center.
Intended for the convenience of local sailors and anyone else interested in finding out how to operate safely on the water, the course will be taught by Custer resident Tom Dalgliesh and Blaine resident Graham Hunter.
The Bellingham group is a unit of the 96-year-old United States Power Squadron, the largest boating education organization in the world.
The comprehensive course covers such topics as boating terms, radio procedures, knots and lines, charts, aids to navigation, federal regulations, navigational, emergencies, trailering and use of personal watercraft.
Both Dalgliesh and Hunter are both active sailors who own sailboats, and Dalgliesh has earned his “six pack,” a captain’s license that in his case allows him to operate vessels up to 100 tons with up to six paying passengers.
“Aside from the fact that operating a boat in a marine environment without knowing how is both stupid and dangerous,” Dalgliesh said, “another good reason to take the course is that it will save you some money.”
Most insurance carriers will reduce premiums by three to five percent for those who pass the course.
The course costs $65, plus $20 for a marine chart and $12 for a pair of dividers, a method of measuring distances on a chart accurately.
“We ask people to bring chart number 18421,” Dalgliesh said, “which covers our area and the San Juans.”
He added that even if prospective students have an old copy of 18421 they should buy a new one.
“Using current and up-to-date charts is a matter of personal safety and is a good boating practice,” he said.
The course begins Wednesday night September 26 and runs for two hours, 7 to 9 p.m. each Wednesday through November 14. There is a workbook with homework after each session and a test at the end.
Those who pass with a grade of 80 or better out of 100 are awarded a certificate of completion and qualify for the insurance deduction if offered by their carrier.
For more information and to pre-register, call 756-8052, 371-3861 or 366-0362.
A process begins next year that will ultimately require most Washington state boaters to have passed a Washington State Parks approved boater education course and carry a card proving it. Next year in 2008 the requirement applies to boat operators 20 and younger (to the age of 12), and each succeeding year the age requirement goes up by five years.
Those 25 years old and younger must meet the requirement in 2009, 30 years and younger in 2010 and so on until by 2015 all operators born in 1955 or later must meet the requirement.
A variety of courses will meet the requirement. More information is available by visiting www.parks.wa.gov/boating.