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Why Should I Take a Boating Course?

If you are planning on operating a boat and considering whether or not you should take a boating course – the answer is yes, you definitely should.  This is for the exact same reason why you would take driving lessons before you operate a car, truck, or anything with a motor/engine.

When it comes to operating a power boat, personal watercraft or sailboat, many people make the assumption that it is much easier than operating a car – when in fact this is actually far from the truth.

Similarly to the written portion of your driver’s test, your boating test also requires you to identify a large number of signs that are required for travel on the water. In fact, there are over 60 different signs, markers, lights and flags that are noted in Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide.  On top of that, you need to be able to tell which way the water is flowing to determine which side of the boat to keep certain markers on.

You are also required to carry up-to-date charts, the water version of road maps, on board at all times. In order to use these charts, you also need a magnetic compass and an understanding of the symbols that are noted on the chart. There is literally a whole book dedicated to reading, their symbols, and how to read them.

Power boats, personal watercrafts, sailboats and paddle boats all perform differently, just like cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles. Here are some things to consider:

  • When you turn the steering wheel on a boat, it is the back end of the boat that moves first, unlike the front end of a car.
  • When you take your foot off the gas in a car you can still turn left or right no problem, the same is not true for a boat. With no power to drive forward motion, the boat or personal water craft will not turn at all.
  • Cars have brakes; boats don’t and rely on reverse thrust or friction to slow the boat down.
  • Different types and sizes of boats require different safety equipment on board.
  • Weather also needs to be considered. In most cases, you can still operate a car during a heavy rain or windstorm. The same is not true on the water; slight changes in weather can drastically change your boating experience.

The Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) now has 257 key learning points and that covers only the basic level of knowledge that is really needed to understand fully and enjoy a safe boating experience.

To get your PCOC, visit: The Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (CPS-ECP)

For more information, visit: National Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program

Original article source: Canadian Yachting – Why Should I Take a Boating Course

Bev Carlson

HUB International MARINE is based in the Greater Vancouver area and focuses on providing both pleasure craft and commercial marine insurance. We insure vessels of all sizes including sailboats, high performance vessels, runabouts, skipper charters, sailing dinghies, multi-hull boats, boat houses, offshore and liveaboards. We are also a leader in commercial marine insurance for boat manufacturers/dealers, yacht clubs & marinas and ship repairers along with other specialty marine businesses.

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