Tuesday will be the deadline for signing up for a new beginner boating class at the Richard A. Young Recreation Center, 5400 McKinley in Dearborn Heights.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security/United States Coast Guard Auxiliary will be offering About Boating Safely in cooperation with the Dearborn Heights Parks & Recreation Department on March 7, 14 and 21. The content of the sessions to be held in a classroom from 7-9:30 p.m. Mondays at the Young Center will be an introduction to boating safety
“It’s the first time we’re offering the class (in Dearborn Heights), we’ve not had it before at the Young Center,” said Dennis Cunningham, one of three people instructing the class. “Anyone who takes the class gets a certificate from the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, which is good throughout the U.S. for anyone operating a boat.”
The topics covered by the class include an introduction to boating, boating law, boat safety equipment, safe boating, navigation, boating problems, “Trailering, Storing and Protecting Your Boat,” and “Hunting, Fishing, Water-skiing and River Boating.”
“For one day of the class, a person gets a certificate as a Junior Boater who can operate a jet ski, if that person was born after 1978,” Cunningham said. “For those attending the classes, they cover seven chapters of a book, plus the test.”
The class is conducted with a power-point presentation, pamphlets, and questionnaires, he said, adding that while the actual boating has to be experienced, the class sessions are aimed at covering everything on the subject matter of helping kids become a beginner boater.
While the certification is not a boating license, according to Cunningham—“in Michigan, there’s no such thing as a boating license”—he added that completion of the boating safety course can provide the knowledge needed to obtain a boat license or safety certification in many states. Many insurance companies will offer boating insurance discounts to boaters successfully completing the class.
The boating introduction topic covers types of power boats, sailboats, outboards, paddle boats, houseboats, different uses of boats, various power boating engines, jet drives and family-boating basics. The boating law topic covers boat registration, boating regulation, hull identification number, required boat safety equipment, operating safely and reporting accidents, protecting the marine environment, federal boat law, state boating laws, and personal watercraft (PWC) requirements.
The boat safety equipment topic covers life jackets, fire extinguishers, sound-producing devices, visual distress signals, dock lines and rope, first-aid kit, anchors and anchor lines, and other boating safety equipment. The safe boating topic covers bow riding; alcohol and drug abuse; boat entry, loading and trimming; fueling of both portable and permanent tanks; steering with a tiller and a wheel; docking and undocking (including mooring); knots; filing a float plan; checking equipment, fuel, weather and tides; using charts; anchor choice and use; safe PWC handling; and general water safety.
The navigation topic covers The U.S. Aids to Navigation system, types of buoys and beacons, right-of-way rules, avoiding collisions, sound signals, and PWC “tunnel vision.” The boating problems topic addresses hypothermia, boating accidents and rescues, man overboard recovery, capsizing, running aground, river hazards, strainers, emergency radio calls, engine problems, equipment failures, carbon monoxide, and other boating and PWC problems.
Under one topic will be trailer types; trailer brakes, lights, hitches, tires and bearings; trailer loading, balancing and towing; backing a towed trailer; launching and retrieving a boat; boat storage and theft protection; and the launching, retrieving and storing of a PWC. Under another topic will be the carrying of hunting gear and weapons in a boat; fishing from a boat; water-skiing safety guidelines and signals; water-skiing with a PWC; and the navigation of rivers and other boating tips.
The advance registration required by March 1 will include a $20 cost. However, Cunningham said that being a resident of Dearborn Heights is not required to sign up for the class, and the class is open to everyone. Cunningham was unsure how many people will sign up, but “it will be fine as long as we sign up five or six people.”
The registration can be done by coming to the Young Center service desk, he said, or by calling the center at (313) 277-7080. The center is located in Swapka Park, south of Powers and west of Monroe Street.
For more information on this Dearborn Heights Parks & Recreation program,, call Cunningham at (810) 360-9965 or the Young Center at (313) 277-7080. For current information on Dearborn Heights Parks & Recreation programs and facilities for all ages, visit the department’s website at www.ci.dearborn-heights.mi.us.