March 2006

USCG Auxiliary Course May Just Be The Ticket

Summer's Just Around The Corner

It's March, and the weather has reversed itself. March is, if we believe in the old adage, "in like a lion, out like a lamb," been playing games with us. One day it's cold, and the next day it's warm and sunny.

We start thinking about getting our boats ready. We start thinking of all the chores involved in making our craft seaworthy for the upcoming season.
But, of all the tasks that we have on our list, the one that never seems to make its way toward the top is education.

The art and science of what we call "boating" changes with each new technological advance. Just look at the boating bible Chapman's Piloting Seamanship & Small Boat Handling."

Through the years, sections have grown and shrunk, been added and deleted.

Skills you may have learned have grown rusty, and new gadgets have changed the way we apply our skills. But, unless we update our skill sets, we may not be as safe boaters as we might be.

Educational seminar and courses are the answer, and the Coast Guard Auxiliary is here to help.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, with its 34,000 members, provides the boating public with a fair number of boating courses. These courses range from "Boating Fun - Adventure on the Water" for the kindergarten child to the third grader to "Navigating with GPS" for the adult who likes his toys.

Here are some of their courses:

Seminar Courses

Boating Fun - "Adventure on the Water" to teach the basic safety concepts to children in grades K-3

"Waypoints - A Guide to Boating Safely" for older children and youths in grades four through six

"Personal Watercraft" for those who want a brief, very basic introduction to the safety issues involved when operating a PWC

"Navigating with GPS" for those who want a brief, very basic introduction to navigating with GPS.

Multi-Lesson Courses

ABC - "America's Boating Course" - oriented toward hunters, anglers, and beginning boaters who need to do home study

"Boating Safely" - oriented toward hunters, anglers, skiers, and operators of PWCs

"Sailing Fundamentals" for both beginning and experienced sailors (also known as "Sailing and Seamanship")

"Basic Coastal Navigation" - an introduction to coastal piloting

"Advanced Coastal Navigation" for serious boaters who want to learn piloting techniques.

Not all courses are given at all locations or all the time. The courses offered depend on your area, and the volunteers who make up the auxiliary.
Check with your local Auxiliary Flotilla or check the national Web site at or in Arizona,

March Arizona Course: 'Coastal Navigation'

An eight-session "Coastal Navigation" program is scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 7 p.m., beginning March 14 and ending April 6, at the Paradise Valley Police Station.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary instructors will be educating boaters on the finer points of navigation, including the use of nautical charts, navigators, tools and instruments, piloting, and course plotting.

This program is rarely offered, so don't miss this opportunity to gain the knowledge you need to safely navigate area and coastal waters.

Participants enrolling in this program should first have completed an eight hour (or greater) boating-safety course such as "America's Boating Course" or have a working knowledge of boating terminology.

A $150 fee will be charged. You can reserve your space by e-mailing or find more information at or by calling Debbie Huntsman, Flotilla 10-11: (480) 893-2850.