Heading out on the water this summer?
If you need some guidance on how to do so safely, the Kelowna Yacht Club has you covered with free boating safety lessons throughout the summer.
KYC received a grant from Transport Canada to deliver the course, which starts off with an online orientation and lesson on the more technical aspects of operating a boat. At the end of the online part of the course, participants will receive their Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC).
After that, it’s onto the fun part, which boating safety instructor Kama Ringer said is a very important component: a three-hour practice out on the water.
That way, the students are able to get to experience the practical aspects of operating a boat and ask their questions without risking themselves.
She said it’s also a good way to put into actual use what you’ve learned in the midst of other boaters.
“I think it’s really important to get people going out on the boat because while it’s great to have your license and know the technical knowledge, I think there’s no replacement for actually getting to go out on the water,” Ringer said.
During the three-hour lesson, Ringer teaches operators about boat maneuvers, handling, launching and docking, anchoring, as well as doing some “man-over-board” exercises, which shows boaters what to do in case one of their passengers are in trouble in the water.
Ringer added a common mistake that boaters make is not taking weather into account, especially in the Okanagan.
“Our weather changes so quickly, you can be going out on a beautiful day and the next thing you know, it’s all wind and it’s not fun anymore,” she said.
“Always make sure you check the weather ahead of time and do your due diligence. Prepare and make sure you have everything you need.”
Boating students Madison Primmer and Grace Miller are first-time boaters and they said they were both excited to get out on the water and learn the practical aspects of boating.
“You don’t need any experience (to sign up for the course)… it’s really excited to have both experiences of being able to take (part of) it online and then being able to actually see it in person,” Primmer said.
Miller said she’s grateful that the yacht club is offering the class to everyone who wants to participate, not just members.
“It just gives you all the tools you need… and I think that we’re going to learn a lot and it just gives me the skills to be out on the water and to be confident and to be able to enjoy myself and not be scared the whole time,” Miller said.
The boating safety course at the Kelowna Yacht Club is free of charge and is available throughout the summer until September. More information is available at kelownayachtclub.com/okanagan-boating-safety.