By: Daniel Eaton
Boating enthusiasts seeking to obtain the state boating safety certificate are encouraged to enroll in a one-day responsible boating class on Saturday, May 20, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The course will be held at the Pine Ridge Community Center, located at 15699 Pine Ridge Rd. in Fort Myers, next to the fire station and across from the tax collector’s office. Completion of the course will make participants eligible for the state boating certificate.
The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary offers the one-day program every third Saturday of the month. Greg Masonic, the Flotilla Commander of Fort Myers Beach Flotilla 91, stresses the importance of education and awareness of boating hazards. Masonick says, “Attending an in-person class is an excellent opportunity for students to interact, share perspectives, and gain local knowledge. Participants learn about the importance of life jackets, risk reduction, preparedness, and exercising sound judgment.”
According to Florida law, anyone born on or after January 1, 1988, who plans to operate a boat in Florida waters with an engine of 10 horsepower or more must complete an approved boating safety course and obtain a Florida boating safety ID card. This card certifies that the person has completed the required boating safety course, but it is not a boating license.
The one-day class costs $45 per person and includes study materials. Mandatory registration is required and may be completed at www.Aux91FMB.org or by calling 239-690-6780 option 1.
Boating is a popular recreational activity in Southwest Florida, but it can also be dangerous for the unprepared or uninformed. Human error and poor decision-making can increase the risk of accidents. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in 2021, there were 51 reportable boating accidents resulting in seven fatalities and 28 injuries.
The US Coast Guard Auxiliary is the lead agency in recreational boating safety, protecting America’s seaward frontier. Created by Congress in 1939, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard, supporting the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. Every day, vessels and aircraft deploy across the U.S. to aid or save countless boaters and dollars in property damage.
For additional information about boating safety classes or registration for a class, contact Kevin McTaggart, Public Education Officer, email@example.com, at 239-690-6780 option 1, or www.Aux91FMB.org/Safeboating.