U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers boating safety class

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
East Hartford - posted Thu., Feb. 27, 2014
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary instructor Anthony Camillieri stressed how important it is to keep your wits about you if encountering an emergency situation on the water. Photos by Lisa Stone.
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary instructor Anthony Camillieri stressed how important it is to keep your wits about you if encountering an emergency situation on the water. Photos by Lisa Stone.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary recently offered a chance to learn how to be safe on the water through its “About Boating Safety” class, held at Goodwin College on Feb. 22.

The class was a one-day session that lasted for eight hours. At the end of the class, participants were given a test that would allow them to receive a Connecticut Safe Boating certificate if they passed successfully. This is a mandatory certificate to operate any size boat with a motor in Connecticut waters.

The class hit on many topics, such as: introduction to boating, boating law, boat safety equipment, safe boating, navigation, trailering, and storing and protecting your boat.

U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary officers Anthony Camillieri and Frank Connolly were the instructors for the class. “If your boat is in a wreck, it is always best to stay with the boat. You would probably drown otherwise,” said Camillieri. “If you go down in cold water, it only takes three to five minutes to get hypothermia. Floating objects help the Coast Guard to find you if there is an accident.” The instructors also recommend that you stay together in the event of a collision. “You can give each other emotional strength by encouraging each other to stay awake and keep fighting,” added Camillieri.

The very first thing an operator of any boat should do in the event of an accident is to check on the condition of the crew, the instructors said. Next, make sure all of the passengers have their personal floatation devices. Then, check the condition of the boat and radio the authorities to report the accident. According to state law, if there is an injury or death, or damage to the vessel that is greater than $500, it is necessary to notify the proper authorities.

One segment of the class was devoted to what to do in the event of an on-board fire emergency. “Fire cannot survive if you remove one of the three elements that are needed for a fire,” said Camillieri. “A fire needs oxygen, heat and fuel to be successful. Never mix the three ingredients.” It is recommended that if there is a fire, you should get away from the vessel. You need to stay upwind due to the fact that the fumes from the fire will be toxic, and if you breathe the fumes while trying to swim, it can be fatal.

A common problem that boaters have to deal with is the “Station Wagon Effect.” This is when the boat has fumes coming aboard while motoring slowly through the water. “If you ever owned a station wagon years ago, you would remember that the rear window had to be up while driving due to the exhaust fumes coming inside the car,” said Connolly. “This is the exact same theory with the boats. All of the windows and doors in the back of the boat should be kept closed while going slow.” Common side effects from carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, nausea and confusion. The Coast Guard recommends that everyone gets away from the situation. People can become incapacitated quickly and this could lead to death.

Along with the standard boating operating information, the course also dealt with a section of Connecticut state law. Laws may vary from state to state and it is important to know what is expected of the operator of the vessel.

For more information about the USCG boating safety classes, go online to auxboatingsafety@yahoo.com or call 860-537-5222.


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