Outdoors: Boaters should put safety first

I had a call the other day from my friend David Friedman of Kettering. He is all about boater safety. David is a long-time member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, an organization dedicated to the safety of American boaters.

So I asked him about the state of boater safety in the U.S.

“It is interesting to see how people use the water,” Friedman said. “Typically, younger people feel they are invincible while the over 55 group tend to get a bit overconfident and careless – they have been doing things so long they feel they know everything. Well, we know neither group is right.”

Q: What is the Coast Guard Auxiliary?

A: “Boating of any sort is supposed to be fun and we want that to remain the case. It doesn’t matter if it a big cabin cruiser or as simple as a kayak or the new paddleboards. Whether someone is on a complicated vessel or a simple board, it helps to know what is going on around you. There are things to learn that make the experiences more enjoyable. Yes, there are some rules, but so what? Even Mother Nature has some rules!”

Q: What is the Auxiliary’s best way to equip boaters to have a safe experience?

A: “Take a boater safety course – particularly one that takes some real time – not just a quickie seminar. Even fishermen or hunters who use a boat as a means to an end, depend on their boat to get them to their favorite spot. Sometimes they forget that part way there they got caught in a storm and got into trouble or really only just made it out of dumb luck. Maybe, just maybe, we could have made it easier.”

Q: Why study navigation or communications if we never leave the small lakes around here?

A “We have seen it time after time where people go from, let’s say Indian Lake or Caesar Creek after a few years and then go to Lake Erie or the Gulf Coast. Suddenly it is another world where they realize they are a very small cork in a very big body of water and they have gotten in trouble. We just might have a way of helping.”

Friedman said the Auxiliary is offering a course, starting this month. It is a 13-session course at Fairmont High School. “It’s the best overall basic course around,” he said. “Yes, you can take an eight-hour seminar, but that only scratches the surface. Yes, they both meet all of Ohio’s standards. But if you are going to be on the water for any length of time, this is where you really need to start.”

Anyone interested can contact Friedman at (937) 293-4131 or at davidboat@woh.rr.com.

Workshop on the fly: Anglers interested in learning the art of fly tying and fishing are invited to a free two-part workshop by the Division of Wildlife. Attendees will be able to test their new tackle and fishing skills, fly-fishing on site.

It will be held at the District 5 Headquarters, 1076 Old Springfield Pike, Xenia, from 5:30-8 p.m. on March 28 and 29. All equipment and tying supplies will be provided. Be prepared to go outside regardless of weather conditions.

Applicants must be 12 years of age or older. Youth must be accompanied by an adult. Pre-register by calling Brittany M-F 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. at (937) 372-9261. Registration deadline is March 26. Space is limited to the first 15 registered. Anyone age 16 and older is required to have a current Ohio fishing license.

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