U.S. Coast Guard urging watercraft operators to take boating safety class


BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — From boats to other types of watercraft, lots of people will be hitting area waterways this summer and that’s why the U.S. Coast Guard is offering boating safety classes to ensure they know what to do to protect themselves and others when out on the water.

Rich O’Donnell, Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Coast Guard’s Southport, Oak Island and Shallotte Flotilla 10-5, says there are three primary ways boaters get into trouble on the water.

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“The biggest mistakes boaters make is failing to wear a life jacket, boating while under the influence of alcohol and reckless boating,” O’Donnell said.

One of the ways the U.S. Coast Guard hopes to reduce these mishaps on the water is by offering About Boating Safely (ABS), a one-day beginner boating course that covers boating nomenclature, required equipment, operating legally and safely, navigating, emergency procedures and more.

Persons who complete the ABS course are issued a required boating safety certificate. The course is also very useful for all persons regardless of age if they intend to operate a vessel.

“North Carolina law requires any person born after January 1, 1988 operating any motorized vessel with more than 10 horsepower on public waters to have a boating safety certificate,” O’Donnell said.

Each state and local area has certain legal requirements.

“The ABS course is geared toward the area where its being taught,” O’Donnell said.

The ABS course will be held Saturday, June 29 at the Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation’s Assembly Room at 795 Ocean Highway in Supply.

Classes start at 8:00 a.m. and run until 4:00 p.m. The cost for the class is $35 per person. If two or more people register together the price is $30 per person. You can pay by PayPal or cash or check at the door.

The class will also be offered on July 13 at the Brunswick County EMS Headquarters Emergency Training Center at 40 Naber Drive in Shallotte.

Additional classes will be held in August and September. You can find a full schedule of classes at  www.Flotilla10-05.org. If you would like to register for a class, email BoatingSafely@ec.rr.com.