Just because it’s getting colder out, doesn’t mean that sailing stops! There are plenty of opportunities to continue building skills throughout the entire winter. You’ll meet plenty of other sailors and share stories and build new friendships.
Nearly 60% of accidents involved operators with no boating safety education. 84% of all boating deaths involved boats operated by drivers with no formal instruction or training.
In my day job, one of the things I do is provide sailboat insurance to clients. One question on the application is, “What boating education classes has the applicant taken?” I must say, it is rare that boaters with many years of experience answer that they have taken any formal education courses. I don’t say that so you don’t take a class, I say that so you do take a class or many.
There’s pressure from the government branches, from the U.S. Coast Guard, through the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) to require some form of education before people can operate boats. It hasn’t happened to adults yet, but there is constant pressure.
UNITED STATES COAST GUARD AUXILIARY offers the following Courses: About Boating Safely; Sailing Skill & Seamanship; Weekend Navigator; Navigating with a GPS; How to Read a Nautical Chart; Suddenly in Command; Paddlesports America; Waypoints (ages 10-12); and Boating Fun (ages 4-9).
Find the latest USCG Auxiliary Courses in your neighborhood.
UNITED STATES POWER SQUADRON offers:
COURSES: America’s Boating Course; Seamanship; Advanced Piloting; Junior Navigation; Navigation; Cruise Planning; Engine Maintenance; Marine Electrical Systems; Marine Communication Systems; Marine Navigation Systems; Sail; and Weather.
Find the latest USPS Courses (click Courses) in your neighborhood.
SEMINARS: Anchoring; Basic Coastal Navigation; Basic Weather and Forecasting; Boat Handling Under Power; Boating on Rivers, Locks and Lakes; Crossing Borders; Emergencies on Board; Fuel and Boating; How to Use a Chart; Knots, Bends and Hitches; Man Overboard; Marine Radar, Mariner’s Compass; Mastering the Rules of the Road; Partner in Command; Practical On the Water Training; Sail Trim and Rig Tuning; Trailering Your Boat; Using GPS; Using VHF & VHF/DSC Marine Radio.
Find the latest USPS Seminars (click on Seminars) in your neighborhood.
ONLINE COURSES: America’s Boating Course; Partner in Command; and Boating on Rivers, Locks and Lakes. Find the latest Online Course.
CHICAGO SAILING offers:
Bareboat Chartering in the Caribbean & Beyond
Buying Your First Boat
Loving Your Diesel Engine
Finding a Crew Position
MACK BORING offers:
I’ve always said that to be a safe boater, it is helpful to have a plethora of skills including plumbing, electrical wiring, engine mechanics, rigging, firefighting, police, medical, because at sea you can’t pick up the phone and have these outside services at your boat in a few minutes. You need to have some knowledge how to handle these on your own in those rare moments of excitement.
CROWLEY’S YACHT YARD offers:
In March each year they host Yachtapalooza, a day of multiple seminars on everything sailing, such as: Weather, Rigging Maintenance; Insurance; Flare Demonstration; Sail Trim; Wood Care and Maintenance; Racing Rules of Sailing; Shorthanded Safety; Taking Care of Gelcoat; Fire Extinguisher Demonstration; Flying Asymmetric Spinnakers, The Lost Art of Paper Charts and Dead Reckoning, amongst others . Keep checking back to see when they post the date and schedule.
RENTNER MARINE offers:
Small marine diesel engine maintenance seminars for boat owners.
B&E MARINE offers:
Michigan City, IN
Gel coat repair, preventative maintenance, boat detailing, spring launch preparation classes in March.
LARSEN MARINE SERVICES offers:
Numerous sailing seminars in the Spring Time. Check back often.
STRICTLY SAIL CHICAGO offers:
Too many seminars to list, go to the sailboat show website. (keep checking back closer to the show)
GOOD BOOKS TO READ AND LEARN FROM
Chock full of advice and thoughts to prepare you better for your time at sea –
- Chapman Piloting & Seamanship (buy at marine store or online)
- The Annapolis Book of Seamanship (buy at marine store or online)
Most of the sailboat racing fatalities in recent years were due to Seamanship failures, not Safety failures. It’s time to bone up on Seamanship.
ILLINOIS YOUTHFUL BOATERS
In Illinois ages 12-18 who operate a motor driven watercraft need a Boating Education Certificate of Competency –
On January 1, 1978, Illinois law was passed that requires persons at least 12 years of age and less than 18 years of age may only operate a motor-driven watercraft if:
They have in possession a valid Boating Education Certificate of Competency issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Safety Education Division, or
They are accompanied on the motorboat and under direct control of a parent of guardian, or a person at least 18 years of age designated by a parent or guardian.
No person under 10 years of age may operate a motorboat. Age 10 years and less than 12 years of age may operate under a parent or guardian’s direct control.
There are two ways for Illinois Youthful Boaters to take the Boating Education Certificate of Competency Course.
MICHIGAN YOUTHFUL BOATERS
Who May Operate a Boat
Those less than 12 years of age:
- May operate a boat powered by a motor of no more than 6 horsepower (hp) legally without restrictions.
- May operate a boat powered by a motor of more than 6 hp but no more than 35 hp legally only if they:
- Have been issued a boating safety certificate and have it on board the boat and…
- Are directly supervised on board by a person at least 16 years of age.
- May not operate a boat powered by a motor of more than 35 hp legally under any conditions.
Those born on or after July 1, 1996, may operate a boat legally only if they have been issued a boating safety certificate and have it on board the boat.
Those born before July 1, 1996, may operate a boat legally without restrictions.
Who May Operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC)
Those less than 14 years of age may not legally operate a PWC.
Those 14 and 15 years of age may operate a PWC legally only if they have obtained a boating safety certificate and…
- He or she is accompanied on board by his or her parent or legal guardian or by a person as least 21 years of age who has been designated by the parent or legal guardian or…
- He or she is operating or riding the PWC at a distance of not more than 100 feet from his or her parent or legal guardian or from a person at least 21 years of age who has been designated by the parent or legal guardian.
Those at least 16 years of age and born after December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC legally only if they have obtained a boating safety certificate.
Those born on or before December 31, 1978, may operate a PWC legally without restrictions.
Search for a Michigan Youthful Boating Safety Class in your area.
Search for a Michigan Youthful Boating Safety Class in your area from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 18.
The Auxiliary teaches the Michigan DNR Boat Michigan approved basic boating safety course. We also offer an 8 hour About Boating Safety Class which is Michigan and NASBLA approved, and recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard. Upon successful completion of either class students will be issued a boating safety certificate.
INDIANA YOUTHFUL BOATERS
- All motorboat or PWC operators must have a valid driver’s license to operate on all Indiana public waters.
- Motorboat operators who are 15 years of age may operate a motorboat or PWC until they become a licensed driver only if they complete a boater education course approved by the Department of Natural Resources and have on board an ID card issued by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
- A person who has never been licensed by the BMV must complete an approved boater education course successfully and have on board an ID issued by the Indiana BMV to operate a motorboat legally.
- No one under 15 years of age may legally operate a motorboat greater than 10 horsepower or a PWC.
Indiana Youthful Boaters can take the class online.
WISCONSIN YOUTHFUL BOATERS
MOTORBOATS (Other than a personal watercraft)
- A person under the age of 10 may not operate a motorboat.
- A person 10 or 11 years old may operate a motorboat only if accompanied by a parent, a guardian, or a person at least 18 years old who is designated by the parent or guardian.
- A person 12-15 years old may operate a motorboat only if:
1. He or she is accompanied by a parent, a guardian, or a person at least 18 years old who is designated by the parent or guardian or….
2. He or she has completed a boating safety course that is accepted by the Wisconsin DNR.
- A person born on or after January 1, 1989, and at least 16 years old may operate a motorboat only if he or she has completed a boating safety course that is accepted by the Wisconsin DNR.
PERSONAL WATERCRAFT (PWC)
- A person under the age of 12 may not operate a PWC.
- A person born on or after January 1, 1989, and at least 12 years old may operate a PWC only if he or she has completed a boating safety course that is accepted by the Wisconsin DNR. (Parental supervision is not a substitute for a boating safety course certificate as with other motorboats).
- A person born on or after January 1, 1989, and at least 16 years old may operate a PWC only if he or she has completed a boating safety course that is accepted by the Wisconsin DNR.
- A person under 16 years old may not rent or lease a PWC.
Wisconsin Youthful Boaters can find classes here.
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