The Mission Continues — Member shares safety tips with retirees

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To some, a boat is just a hole in the water that you throw money into. They say their happiest days were when they bought it and when they sold (or sunk) it.

True boaters call these people landlubbers who never found their sea legs, felt the power of the tides or navigated to the call of a sailing wind. Imagine relaxing in the warm sun, ­being lulled into serenity by the motion of the waves, charting a course through waterways that display a panorama of nature’s beauty not seen from land or air, and savoring the briny scents and salty drops that spray up with each dip into the sea.

Whether sailing or motoring to lounge, fish, snorkel, or simply watch sea life and birds at sunrise or sunset, the Shell Point marina at Shell Point Retirement Community in Fort Myers, Florida, is home to some avid boaters who choose to cruise their way to tranquility each fine-weather day. Boating represents the freedom to discover new worlds.

But boating is more than a joyride to someone like Ron Terciak of San Carlos Bay Sail & Power Squadron/22, and the Shell Point Boat Club. Known as “the safety guy,” Ron has a trusted reputation with other Shell Point boaters as someone who can help ensure your boating experience is as safe as possible. He always recommends other boaters take one of the monthly boating classes USPS offers at the squadron level.

Ron and Carole Terciak
Ron and Carole Terciak are members of San Carlos Bay Sail & Power Squadron and the Shell Point Boat Club.

A resident of Shell Point for almost 10 years, Ron and his wife, Carole, were attracted by the free boat dockage at the marina on campus. Their 23-foot Grady White, Irish Rover, has a 225-horsepower outboard Yamaha engine and a Cuddy cabin that keeps things dry. “It’s an extremely well-made boat and handles well in rough water,” Ron said.

Rather than relive his varied boat experiences, Ron prefers to talk about, teach and examine the safety features of boats. He recently returned from a volunteer vessel safety check requested by Dee Whited and Lee Moore, owners of a catamaran named About Time.

“It was a quick process because they were prepared, experienced boaters,” Ron said and added, “Many people don’t realize that the Coast Guard or any law enforcement agency can stop and board a boat at any time. It’s not like a car where police need probable cause, so you have to be prepared.”

Ron recently scheduled an excursion with friends, traveling 75 miles for lunch near Marco Island. “You don’t have to have a big boat to go far around here,” he said, although Ron has advanced skills that allow him to navigate with a sextant by observing the stars.

“You can’t anticipate what might happen on the water,” he said. Recalling an incident from over three years ago, Ron said, “A storm came up faster than we anticipated, and the waves were so big we couldn’t turn around. We were in Charlotte Harbor and decided to put into Matlacha to be protected. Even though another boat in our group was just 100 feet ahead of us, we couldn’t see it. A normal 15-minute ride took us over an hour.”

For more information on Shell Point Retirement Community, visit

Editor’s note: This article first ran in the May 2015 issue of Shell Point Life and was used with permission of Shell Point Retirement Community.

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The Ensign magazine is an official channel of United States Power Squadrons, America’s Boating Club, a volunteer organization whose members teach boating skills and best practices to help improve the safety of our nation’s waterways. Learn more.