The Sunshine Coast Power & Sail Squadron is starting its safe boating courses on Saturdays beginning Feb. 22 and continuing through March and April.
The first course, called boating basics, is a one-day session, which includes qualifying for the pleasure craft operators card (PCOC).
Many would-be boaters are under a mistaken impression that PCOC is all they need, but it covers only a very minimal amount of knowledge.
The second course, called boating essentials, starts on Saturday, March 1, and gets into the real substance of seamanship and navigation that boaters need to safely enjoy our magnificent coastal waters.
Those who complete boating essentials are eligible for the basic seamanship afloat practical in April, which includes a Wednesday evening dockside clinic and a Saturday afloat on a 12-metre, diesel-engined cutter to learn hands-on skills in boat operation. This afloat option is an initiative of the Sunshine Coast Squadron that is being introduced in the Pacific Mainland Division of the nation-wide Canadian Power & Sail Squadron.
Boating essentials graduates are also eligible for squadron membership, which includes valuable benefits such as free boating magazines and discounts for further courses, boat insurance, towing services, car rentals, as well as at some retail outlets.
Further courses include maritime radio set for March 27 and April 1. This includes qualifying to operate a VHF radio, a very important safety item for all boaters, including kayakers, day sailors, sport fishers and cruisers, to communicate effectively in an emergency.