Boat safety classes offered locally

As summer approaches, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 83, joins boating safety advocates across the U.S. and Canada to promote safe and responsible boating.


Consistent life jacket wear by children and adults will be only one of the safety practices highlighted during National Safe Boating Week which is being held May 20 – 22. Boating Safety Classes and Vessel Safety Checks are scheduled over the next two months in the New River Valley.

According to the law of the State of Virginia, everyone operating a personal watercraft (PWC or “jet-ski”) or a motorboat of 10 horsepower and greater must have completed an accepted Boating Safety Class.

In order to take a boat out on the water in Virginia, the boat operator must be in possession not only of Registration papers for the boat, but also a Boating Education Card certifying that the boat operator has taken a Boating Safety Course and passed the test.

In order to assist boaters to comply with this law, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) and United States Coast Guard (USCG) Auxiliary, Flotilla 83 have teamed up to offer free Boating Safety Classes.

The subjects covered are Choosing the Right Boat, Boat Hulls, Motors, Legal Requirements, Navigation Rules, Cruising, Docking, Anchoring, Knots, Accidents, Alcohol Consumption, Fire on Board, Weather, Trailering, Water Sports, and Personal Watercraft.

This course meets the requirements of Virginia Boating Safety laws. Students are asked to bring lunch, a drink, a pencil and a highlighter. Each graduate earns a wallet card showing successful completion of the class.

Most major insurance companies endorse the course and allow insurance premium discounts to graduates. Pre-Registration is required and can be completed by going to the DGIF website at http://www.register-ed.com/events/view/.

If you have questions or need help to register contact Mendy Harman at mendy.harman@dgif.virginia.gov or 494-3569.

Upcoming Boating Safety Classes are scheduled as follows:

May 13, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Blacksburg Library Community Room, 200 Miller St. Blacksburg

Register at http://www.register-ed.com/events/view/100610

June 6 and 7, 5-9 p.m. (must attend both evenings, no dinner break)

Rooker Hall Auditorium, New River Community College, 5251 College Drive, Dublin

Register at http://www.register-ed.com/events/view/100860

Additionally, Saturday, May 27 members of Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 83 will be conducting Vessel Safety Checks (VSC) on personal boats at the boat ramp at Claytor Lake State Park from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. There is no charge and no consequences if your boat does not pass.

The VSC program helps to achieve voluntary compliance with federal, state and local recreational boating safety laws. It also heightens the boater’s awareness of safety issues through one-on-one contact by volunteer certified vessel examiners. Some of the inspected items include: fire extinguishers, first aid kits, ventilation systems, backfire flame controls, navigation lights, visual distress signals, sound producing devices, life jackets, registration, proper display of numbers, overall condition of the boat, and state and local requirements.

In addition to inspecting the boat and equipment, the examiner reviews local boating conditions and answers any boating related safety questions. The goal is simply to help make boating as safe as possible for you, your family and your friends, through education. A VSC ensures the boat and equipment comply with safety requirements. If your boat does pass, a sticker will be awarded. The goal is to increase the chances of a safe ride for everyone.

— Submitted by

Sharon Eifried