Coast Guard Auxiliary to host boater safety course

Published 7:47 pm Wednesday, March 14, 2018

They’re America’s volunteer guardians, and they’re promoting safety on the waterways.

Washington’s U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is hosting “About Boating Safely,” every boater’s need-to-know guide on how to navigate the waterways safely, as well as vessel requirements.

“The whole thing about the auxiliary is about boater safety — that’s the whole mission,” said Washington Flotilla Staff Officer of Public Affairs Tom Marchisello. “It’s a very good course, and we have some of the best instructors.”

The 8-hour course will be held on two occasions in March: this Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on March 22 and March 23. The course fee is $35, and comes with a course book, which participants get to keep.

Marchisello said many new boaters aren’t aware of the requirements necessary to legally operate a boat.

“If they buy the boat from the dealer, he will give them the minimum requirement on the boat to satisfy the coast guard and enforcement division. If they buy it from an individual, they wouldn’t know if they have all the equipment on board that’s required,” Marchisello said.

That’s one of the reasons why the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary often offers vessel checks: “It’s better to spend 15 minutes with us instead of the Coast Guard enforcing (regulations) on the water.”

Not knowing what equipment is required on a vessel can be costly, as well. While a citation for not having a proper life preserver for a child runs $35, court costs can jack that price up to more than $200.

“About Boating Safely” precedes National Boating Safety Week in May. Marchisello said the local USCG Auxiliary flotilla has events lined up to celebrate the week dedicated to staying safe on the water.

“About Boating Safely” will be held at the Beaufort County Police Activities League building at Washington Warren Airport, 178 Airport Road, Washington. For more information or to register for the course, contact Andy Anderson at 703-203-5859 or email