Boating Safety Not Just For Sailors And Powerboaters

    By Terry Tomalin

    Sea kayaking is one of the fastest growing watersports in Florida but these open-water “backpackers” need to know the same basic water safety that is second nature to their sailing and powerboating brethren.

    Both beginner and veteran canoeists and kayakers have a chance to learn about everything from paddling techniques to navigation basics, as well as boating safety, on July 17 when the Tampa Coast Guard Auxiliary presents its first paddlesport seminar.

    Thanks to the efforts of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadron, boaters and sailors have no shortage of boating safety classes to choose from. But paddlesport enthusiasts seldom get the formal instruction needed to navigate the state’s open waterways.

    Sea kayakers often have to share the water with larger vessels so it is important that they understand navigation markers and the rules of the road. If this first of its kind seminar proves popular, it will surely catch on in other areas of the state.

    The seminar is scheduled for Saturday, July 17, 2010, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the USCG Auxiliary’s headquarters, 5108 West Gandy Boulevard, Tampa.  Speakers include Neil Taylor of Adventure Kayak Fishing, Jean Totz, an internationally-accredited canoeist, kayaker, trainer and coach and experienced U.S.C.G Auxiliary personnel. Cost is $25 per person and includes textbook, completion certificate and light lunch.  Discounts are available for two/more attendees from the same family or group.  To register, call (813) 435-4118.