Coast Guard grant paves way for boating-skills classes

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The National Safe Boating Council, in partnership with the Association of Marina Industries, received a Coast Guard non-profit grant to develop Marina Pro, a cadre of trained and certified professionals across the country who can teach on-the-water boating skills to the boating public.

The first of five Marina Pro classes will be held Sept. 10-13 at Nestegg Marine in Marinette, Wis.

Applications are being accepted for the four-day class, which includes classroom and on-the-water training. Those applying must have relevant public speaking or teaching experience, have successfully completed a basic boating safety course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and have five years of boating experience.

The course fee and lodging are offered free through a grant from the Sportfish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the Coast Guard. Four more courses will be offered in various locations throughout the country; 12 students are anticipated at each site. Those who complete the training will be expected to have a plan in place to work with area marinas to begin training boaters on how to maneuver in the marina basin and out in open water.

The curriculum for the course is based on the National Safe Boating Council's Close-Quarters and Open Water Boat Control Instructor programs. Students will be able to train in both applications upon completion.

"The Marina Pro concept is that each marina will have on staff or on call a trained and certified professional who can teach customers boat-handling skills on their own vessels. The hope is marinas will make it a priority to have all of their boaters trained to be safer and more confident in the water," AMI grant coordinator Wendy Larimer said in a statement.

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