NR Power Squadron celebrating 45th anniversary

Published 9:53 pm Friday, August 14, 2009

The Nansemond River Power Squadron meets every month for meetings at Plaza Azteca restaurant in Suffolk, but September’s meeting will commemorate the Squadron’s 45th anniversary. In September 1964, 23 men started a local division of the United States Power Squadron.

Nationally, there are hundreds of chapters in the U.S. Power Squadron and 40,000 members.

The current commander of the Nansemond River Power Squadron, Lin Hanbury, sums up the major goals of the organization in three points.

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By providing boating education courses and organizing other programs to improve boating around the region, the Power Squadron’s first mission is community service.

Even within its own ranks, there is always more to learn and more to do to be safe on the water, so the Squadron works internally and with the U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary to constantly educate and refresh its own members.

Third, the Nansemond River Power Squadron, and all of the hundreds of chapters within the United States Power Squadron, is a fraternal organization.

“The reward is to have fun,” said Hanbury. “Our members, they work every day and they work hard on the courses and projects for the organization, so it’s a reward to have a place to come to talk with members and have a good time.”

The heart of the Power Squadron is improving boating knowledge and safety among its members and the general public.

Classes teach boat handling and seamanship, the rules of the road on the water, lines and knots, how to use charts, aids and equipment, boat maintenance and throughout all the categories, safety.

“These classes will be especially important as Virginia will require all boaters to have successfully passed a boaters’ safety course in the next few years,” said past commander Donnie Weaver.

By the end of 2015, anyone who captains a boat in Virginia will have to have passed a basic course in boating safety and rules.

Another service to the general public is free vessel safety checks. In coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Power Squadron offers checks, then stickers for boats which pass the checks.

The Nansemond River Power Squadron helps keep nautical charts accurate by supplying up-to-date information to NOAA.

As for the fun, the Squadron gets together for five to seven cruises per year. The boating trips range from Constant’s Wharf right in Suffolk to the Eastern Shore, Manteo, N.C. and Maryland.

“We just have a good mix of people who enjoy the company of the other people in the Squadron,” said Hanbury.

In the past year, membership in the organization has increased. Anyone interested in joining is invited to call one of the members and come to one of the monthly meetings. More information can be found at www.nrpowersquadron.com.

September’s meeting, and the 45th birthday party, will be at Plaza Azteca on Tuesday, Sept. 8. The social part of the meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.