Letter: Is your boat ready for summer fun?

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letters_flatTo the editor,

As we all eagerly await the end of school, summer barbeques, and time relaxing on boats, and beaches, it is important to be sure that you are ready for an emergency when you are on the water. Being prepared for the unexpected, especially on the water, is the best way to reduce the chances of a little problem becoming a serious life threatening emergency. 

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is here to assist you in reducing your chances of having a good day go bad. National Safe Boating Week is coming to a close and Auxiliary Flotilla 24-12 in Oxford has geared up to help local boaters ensure they have fun but safe summer on the water. 

Boater safety and preparedness is the goal behind National Safe Boating Week. It is meant to bring attention to many important safety topics and highlight what may happen if you are not prepared for a problem, and how it may progress to a serious emergency.  The auxiliary participates in Safe Boating Week by handing out safety material and making a very visible presence to remind everyone of the importance of being careful around the water. Most boating fatalities occur on inland waterways, with smaller craft; therefore, a proactive approach through education and vessel exams are one of the many ways the auxiliary works to share knowledge and experience with local boaters. 

Boating classes are hosted monthly at the American Legion in Oxford, where many folks leave with a greater, more detailed understanding about the serious responsibilities involved in operating a powerboat. These classes are a great way to help spread the word about the importance of boating safety, and make it easier for everyone to obtain a Connecticut Safe Boating Certificate. The classes offered by the auxiliary cover the required information for the state license, but delve deeper into many important safety, and operational information that will be of a great use should you ever find yourself in a situation. Our flotilla will host classes in other locations, provided there is enough interest in the area.  In addition to the safe boating class, the auxiliary offers other classes covering paddle sports, navigation and GPS use. 

Another way the auxiliary encourages boaters have a safe day on the water is through vessel safety checks. The auxiliary’s vessel examiner has a checklist of the necessary and important safety equipment for paddle craft, and power vessels. These free, optional safety checks offer the opportunity to any boater to review their safety equipment, and to be sure they are aware of any changes to local and federal laws, such as the updated law about obtaining a new boating license. Often many boaters are excited to show how safe, and prepared they are for a day on the water. The exams review important paperwork, condition and function of equipment such as the horn, navigation lights also insuring there are enough PFDs onboard for all of the passengers. These exams take approximately 20 minutes, and a truly great way to get to know boaters, and build fellowship with others on the water. 

As National Safe Boating week comes to a close, Flotilla 24-12 in Oxford would like to remind all that we are here for any questions about boating safety, classes, and an active resource in the community. Frequently Auxiliary members visit various businesses and town offices posting information about upcoming events, and pamphlets. Again, if there is an organization that would like to host one of our classes or vessel safety checks, please contact George Assenza at gaassenza@snet.net; or search for Flotilla 24-12 on Facebook. 

Our next About Boating Safety class will be on June 22, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; successfully completing this class exceeds the requirements for a Connecticut Safe Boating Certificate. 

Courtesy Marine Safety Checks will be held May 25 at the Southbury Boat Ramp, and June 8 at Echo Bay Marina in Brookfield. 

From all of the dedicated volunteers in Flotilla 24-12 Oxford, we hope everyone has an enjoyable and safe summer on the water.

David Genest

ADSO-PB, Auxiliary Flotilla 24-12

Prospect