My wife, Mary, and I had this trip on our to-do list for about 10 years when we finally teamed up with another couple (good friends of ours) to make the dream a reality. After months of careful planning, we sailed out of Road Town, Tortola, in the BVIs via Sunsail charters for a seven-day adventure in paradise.
What is BOC?
The Boat Operator Certification program allows you to demonstrate your proficiency and knowledge of a specific set of boating skills.
How many certification levels are there?
The four levels are Inland Navigator, Coastal Navigator, Advanced Coastal Navigator and Offshore Navigator. With IN, you can get endorsements for sail, inland waterways and paddle craft.
Why did USPS develop this program?
USPS responded to a United Nations resolution asking countries to develop boater certification programs that met specific requirements. USPS pioneered the program in the United States.
But when it comes to drinking alcohol on the water, current laws can carry felony charges, prison sentences and stiff fines. A conviction can also mean higher insurance premiums, mandatory boating safety classes and damage to one’s driving record.
We took this trip for several reasons: to avoid driving through Chicago, which is especially difficult towing a trailered boat; for fun because I’ve never been on a cruise before; and because it might be our last chance to ride aboard a coal-fired Great Lakes steamer.
The night before, we went down to the pier to watch the ship come in. That’s really the only way to get pictures of the whole ship.
By Thomas Alley & othersFor nearly two decades, squadrons around the country have been discussing the problem of organizational sustainability.
Two years ago, New York’s Seneca Sail & Power Squadron/6 decided to stop talking and start doing. In two parts, this article describes what happened when we followed one of our ideas from inception to execution.
Identifying the (Real) Problem
“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”
During our five-week sail, Solo, Fern’s Giant Schnauzer, gave us many opportunities to go ashore. We often had trouble finding suitable access and thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to know in advance which marinas and anchorages are dog-friendly?” We decided to take notes so other boaters would know where their dogs could romp down a trail or check out an easily accessible beach.
We categorized marinas and anchorages as either “dog-friendly” or “not dog-friendly.” A dog-friendly marina required nearby shore access as well as a substantial beach, walking trail or logging road for dogs to stretch their legs. Most of the locations we rated are in the Broughtons, the area north of Desolation Sound between Vancouver Island and the mainland, but a few are on the fringes.
These educators share several traits including a wealth of experience, a love of teaching, a dedication to their students and a desire to make the water a better place.
Each district can nominate one instructor for this award each year. A national committee selects the top five educators from this pool of nominees.
Each winner receives a plaque honoring the achievement, a four-year USPS-certified instructor card and a gold Chapman Award lapel pin. The winners’ squadrons receive a high-quality sextant in a presentation case engraved with the winner’s name and squadron. A permanent log of all winners and nominees resides in the USPS Memorial Library in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Please join us in congratulating these dedicated educators and honoring their service to USPS and boating education.
Typically, we followed routes suggested by the charter company, always returning to the home marina within a week or two. Quite often, especially on the last day, our course would be directly into the wind, requiring beating, motoring or both.
“Wouldn’t it be nice,” I had often suggested, “to have our very own boat so we could have the freedom to just sail with the wind?”
Let’s face it—accidents happen to the best of us. The key to happy boating is to learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others so we don’t repeat them; it’s a whole lot cheaper!
From the boating incidents reported to me, I chose 10 and ranked them on a scale from dumb to dumbest, 10-1, with number one being most deserving of the Boating Oops Award.