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Boat safety course offered here

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All eight people attending the first “Boat Safe” course offered here received a passing mark of 75 percent or better last week.

The eight-hour course, held over two nights at Confederation College, lectured—and later tested—the participants on how to become safer boaters.

The cost for the course was $79.95.

The course, offered through a joint effort involving Pinewood Sports, Mid-Canada Marine Dealers Association, and Confederation College, was deemed necessary after a new law last year making it mandatory for those under age 16 to obtain a licence to operate a motorboat on Canadian waters.

That new law, which takes effect for the upcoming boating season, is intended to improve operator proficiency and reduce accidents among young and inexperienced boaters.

But of those who took in the course, many were older, more experienced boaters, noted Rick Socholotuk, who helped lecture with Doug Cain and Brian Ans.

“I was surprised most of the questions came from the fellow with the most experience,” said Socholotuk, adding the course will be offered here once a month for the next while.

“It [the course] was a fairly reasonable deal because it’s good for life,” he noted.

While just a small handful took the first one, Cain said he was happy to see such a wide cross-section of people.

“We had a good representation of people, both young and old, and male and female,” he remarked. “There were a lot of good questions.”

Boaters can receive their licence in several ways. They can take the in-class course at a cost about $80, or pay $20 for a home study manual and then pay $30 more for a challenge exam (they also have the option of taking the exam without the course).

A young boater must show proof of having taken a boating safety course prior to April 1 of this year, or obtain a pleasure craft operator card from a Canadian Coast Guard-accredited course provider following a test.

They also may complete a rental safety checklist for power-driven rental boats.

Ans, who made the trip here from Winnipeg, said the course is necessary to help make the waters a safer place. He noted there are about 200 fatalities every year due to boating accidents.

“One of the things is that the [waters in the] larger centres are being clogged and there is an increase in traffic,” he remarked. “The whole idea [of the course] is to better educate boaters.”

Those interested in signing up for the next course can contact Confederation College at 274-5395.

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