I just received this postcard in the mail reminding me of National Safe Boating Week which will be happening on the week of May 19th. In checking out the website (SafeBoatingCampaign.com) I found a lot of great info on life jackets and boating safety courses. They even have a map that directs you to safety courses offered by various agencies in each state so you may be able to find one close to home.
I took one of these classes offered by the MA Environmental Police about 10 years back and I found it to be very informative. Although the classes are usually geared toward power boaters they still offer a lot of great safety instruction that is pertinent to paddled craft too. Furthermore, as a paddler it is important to understand the rules by which power boats operate (e.g. waterways, running lights, speed) in order to maintain safe distance and avoid collisions. I’ve been in many debates with fellow paddlers on the topic of who has the responsibility to look out for who and what type of craft has the right of way on the water. Regardless of the written law it’s imperative that everyone look out for each other while on the water and it’s important to remember that paddled craft land at the bottom of the momentum “food chain” in collisions. So mark your calendars for National Safe Boating Week, wear your lifejackets, and consider taking a boaters safety class.
Happy and Safe Paddling!