Taking an online boating safety course is an easy way to pass time the non-boating time of year while getting ready for the upcoming season. Some of the classes are free while others cost a short amount of money. And while many of the courses are essential for new or for young boaters, many courses serve as good refreshers for seasoned operators as well. Here are 5 online boating safety courses that are available from the Boat U.S. Foundation.
- Boating Safety: A lot of material is covered in this type of class, with boat handling, reading weather patterns, navigational skills, rules of the road, common boat problems and how to fix them, trailering information, docking, knots, and off-season maintenance.
- How to Choose and Use a VHF Radio: Much of our time is spent listening to chatter from boaters and fishermen, but there are certain procedures that are helpful during an emergency.
- Hurricane Prep: This boating safety course covers the topics relevant to late summer and early fall hurricane season, and gets boaters ahead of the curve.
- Partner in Command: Maybe you’re always the captain, but having a crew that knows what to do is invaluable. It’ll elevate the level of play of your entire group.
- Weather for Boaters: Listening to the WX channel is a good start, but as we all know, the weatherman is sometimes wrong. Learning about clouds, wind direction and other tell-tale signs means that you’ll be able to predict common weather patterns.
Material covers specialty subjects for seasoned boaters embarking on a new venture. As a mariner, the course about boating on rivers, locks and lakes caught my eye. Not only did I learn that there are 30,000 miles of inland waterways but there are a variety of deployed horn blasts that signal the lockmaster to either open…or close…the locks. I’m a die-hard power boater, but my kids are interested in learning to sail. Maybe we’ll work on that class together.
This off season, brush up on your skills with an online boating safety course and watch this quick safe boating gear video. They’re easy to do from the comfort of your favorite couch or chair.