Last-minute gift ideas for boaters

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Over the past couple of weeks I have been bombarded by messages that tell me how to pick the correct or &uot;perfect&uot; gift for the holidays. One radio ad has a lady requesting that her husband, who apparently is great at reacting to creepy noises in the house in the middle of the night, needs to go to a specific jewelry store because he is incapable of making a rational gift decision. Another story, in the form of a web posting on the MSN website gives befuddled male gift buyers another recommendation to follow by offering &uot;As seen on Oprah – shop her top picks.&uot;

Well, I’m not a fancy jewelry storeowner, and I am certainly not a nationally famous talk show host, however I do have a practical simple suggestion…especially as the clock is counting down.

My recommendation comes with the idea of safety in mind. Consider getting your boater a seat in Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadron boating course. Doesn’t matter if the gift recipient is a brand new sailor or Captain Nemo.

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Just as installing smoke detectors is one of the smartest safety things you can do on land, giving a gift of a safety course is the smartest thing you can give to an individual that spends time on the water.

In the Hampton Roads area, Suffolk boaters have lots of choices where to attend courses. The complete schedule can be found at the Coast Guard Auxiliary Web site: Auxiliary Courses that will be of specific interest to local boaters include: (1) The Boating Safety Course (BSC), an eight-hour introduction to safe boating, great for a new boater! (2) Boating Safety & Seamanship (BS&S): Taught with six to 13 specific classes this course is for power boaters who want an in depth look at boating. (3) Sailing Fundamentals is a good course for sailing the enthusiast. Power Squadron courses may be found at:

How about the boater who is on the road a lot, or who doesn’t have the time routinely to drive and sit through a course? I recommend the America’s Boating Course or ABC which comes with a full-color manual and an interactive CD for home computer use.

Distance learning is a great way to go for time pressed adults, teens who are moving to fifteen different events daily, and even pre-teens juggling winter field hockey, with swim meets and church activities! If you have a computer, you can take the course and maybe learn something that will save your life. For more information go to: This course has been approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. Law Administrators.

Until next week, Merry Christmas and remember if you get on the water over the holidays…Boat Safe and Boat Smart!