Why Should I Take a Boating Course?

CPS Boating Courses

 

Feb 23, 2016

John Gullick, CPS-ECP Manager of Government and Special Projects

A question that I get asked a lot is “why should I take a safe boating course?”

Let me start by asking you the following question: Would you start driving a car before taking a course and/or driving lessons? The answer is probably no and for good reason.

When it comes to operating a boat, especially a power boat, personal watercraft or sailboat, I often ask the same question and the answer I get is usually very different. Most people believe that operating a boat is much easier that operating a car and I would respectfully suggest that this is far from the truth.

Let’s think about it and follow the comparison. When you do the written portion of your driver’s test you have to be able to identify a large number of signs. The same is true for travel on the water. I counted up the number of different signs, markers, lights and flags that are noted in Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide and there are over 60. Add to that which side of the boat you keep certain markers on changes depending on the direction of the water flow and you have to know how to determine that.

Let’s go even further. You are required to carry up- to- date charts, the water version of road maps, on board. To be able to use them you also need a magnetic compass and an understanding of the symbols that are noted on the chart. There are literally pages of those. In fact there is a whole book dedicated to charts, their symbols and how to read them.

Now let’s look at the operation of the vessel itself. Power boats, personal watercraft, sailboats and paddle boats all perform differently, just like cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles. When you turn the steering wheel on a boat it is the back end of the boat that moves first, not like the front end of a car. When you take your foot off the gas in a car you can still turn left or right with no problem. The same is not true in a boat. So much so in some cases that, without power to drive forward motion, the boat or personal water craft will not turn at all. Cars have brakes, boats don’t and rely on reverse thrust or friction to slow the boat down.

Most cars also contain all the required safety equipment already built in. The same is not true of boats.

Different types and sizes of boats require different safety equipment on board, in good repair and accessible. You need to know what that equipment is and how to maintain it. For the most part seat belts are the same but lifejackets and personal flotation devices (PFDs) are not. Today PFDs are purposely designed for different types of on-the-water activity and you need to know how to choose the right one for what you do and how to maintain it.

Last but not least, let’s consider weather. It is true that in a car you have to consider adverse weather conditions, especially heavy wind or rain, but in most cases you are protected from those conditions and can carry on to your destination. The same is not true on the water. Slight changes in the weather can call a halt to what started out as a fun day on the water. Even too much sunshine can have adverse effects and you need to know when to recognize that and how to do something about it.

Are you beginning to get the picture? I have not yet talked about Cold Water Shock due to unexpected immersion or the dangers of carbon monoxide.

The body of knowledge that is required to pass the test for your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) now has 257 key learning points and that covers only the basic level of knowledge that is really needed to understand fully and enjoy a safe boating experience for you and your family and guests.

Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS-ECP) offer a range of classroom and home study courses and seminars that cover everything from basic boat safety, handling and navigation up to advanced navigation, offshore cruising, local and global weather, marine electronics, marine maintenance, distress signaling and much more. Go to: www.boatingcourses.ca. Courses are usually offered during the winter and early spring months so you can enjoy year-long boating experiences, learn a great deal and make many new friends that share your passion for boating.

It is said that knowledge is power and when it comes to boating you can never have too much of it. That knowledge can give you the confidence to really enjoy your boating experience and it can give others confidence in your abilities as a safe boat operator. The best trip is always a safe return trip.

http://www.boatingcourses.ca/home

 

Related Articles


New Boats: Beneteau Oceanis 34.1 – A Sleek, Good -Looking Delight To Sail

By Katherine Stone

There is nothing more that I enjoy than being with friends and messing about in boats. Messing about in brand-new boats on a champagne sailing day on Lake Ontario at the beginning of the summer doesn’t get any better. To have the new owner, Helmuth Strobel and Anchor Yachts dealer Pancho Jimenez aboard made it even more special, as they can also speak to what they truly enjoy about the boat. We keep our own boat in a harbour that has a long waiting list for boats over 35 feet, so this little gem would definitely fit the bill and feels like a much bigger boat. True to the spirit of the 7th generation Oceanis line, the 34.1 is built in Poland and replaces the 35.1. It is 1,000 lbs lighter, 14 cm narrower and has 29% more sail area.

Read More


Destinations

Peter Island Resort in the British Virgin Islands has Reopened

Peter Island Resort in the British Virgin Islands has opened its rebuilt and re-envisioned luxury private island in 2024 after the property closures from the Virgin Islands’ 2017 hurricane season. Peter Island Resort has been undergoing its transformation for over six years. Its evolution includes brand new and upgraded accommodations and new state-of-the-art facilities and five stellar beaches amid hundreds of acres of unspoiled tropical island.

Peter Island Yacht Club

The new Yacht Club will be a must on the itineraries of sailors, boaters and yachtsmen with a marina that can accommodate a range of vessels from power boats, sailboats and catamarans, to super yachts of up to 200 feet. Located in Sprat Bay harbor, the Yacht Club will be its own destination with a dedicated swimming pool for Yacht Club guests, Drunken Pelican restaurant and bar, a commissary, Sea Chest Boutique and a sports recreation area with pickleball, basketball and bocce ball courts and a lawn-games area. To protect the coral reef and marine life surrounding the island, moorings will be located in White Bay, Sprat Bay, Deadman’s Bay…

Read More