Twenty dollars can save your life out on the water


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The Banana River Sail and Power Squadron, aka the America’s Boating Club of South Brevard, offers an inexpensive boating class that emphasizes safety.

Courtesy of Banana River Sail & Power Squadron

Two, 10-dollar bills don’t get you much these days, but with the Banana River Sail and Power Squadron, aka the America’s Boating Club of South Brevard, it can save your life.

Twenty dollars, the fee for the Squadron’s ABC3 Basic Boating Class, provides a full day of both classroom and on-the-water experience on the fundamentals of boat types and handling, safety, navigation rules, government regulations and other boating-related topics.

Instructors are seasoned, certified educators and committed boating enthusiasts such as Ernst Hofmann, the Squadron’s assistant education officer.

“I’ve been boating since the 1950s,”  Hofmann said.

The all-volunteer Squadron aims to encourage the safe operation of boats through classes held throughout the year in South Brevard. The upcoming basic boating class will be held from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Ascension Lutheran Church at 1053 Pinetree Drive in Indian Harbour Beach.

It will be a busy day with plenty of on-the-water training on subjects such as pre-trailer launch, basic boat handling, anchor deployment and retrieval and casting off and docking. The course meets the State of Florida and NASBLA’s requirements for certification for a Florida Boating Safety identification card. Individuals born after Jan. 1, 1988 and operating a boat with 10hp or more are required to take the course to earn the card.

The Squadron also teaches an approved Junior Safe Boating Course several times a year during school breaks.

Education is critical for running a boat. Folks out for a nice day on the water do not expect tragedy, but 59 individuals in Florida last year perished during boating outings and 307 more were injured, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s 2018 Boating Accident Statistical Report. Out of the 628 accidents on Florida’s water in 2018, 449 of the boat operators had no formal boating education.

Twenty dollars and a day of boating classes can save your life, whether you are young or old, male or female and whether your favorite boat putts along slowly or rushes through the water at great speed.

“You don’t even need to be a boat owner,” Hofmann said.

Kelly Enders of Melbourne took the course earlier this year, because she wanted to keep up with her husband, an avid boater.

“I really enjoyed learning the rules and the on-the-water portion was awesome,” Enders said.

The registration deadline with payment for the ABC3 Basic Boating Class is Oct. 21. Send a check or money order to Ernst Hofmann, 290 Paradise Blvd. No. 36, Indialantic, FL  32903. For more information, call 321-220-7775 or go to ABCSB.org.