Wednesday, February 06, 2008

2007 KIDS SAFE BOATING PROGRAM


MILES RIVER SAIL & POWER SQUADRON (MD)


Report on


2007 KIDS SAFE BOATING PROGRAM



The Miles River Sail and Power Squadron (MRSPS), District 5, conducted a safe boating workshop for all Seventh Graders (348) of the Talbot County Public Schools during May, 2007 at:



St Michaels Middle School: at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (1 full day workshop)



Easton Middle School: at the Easton Middle School and the Talbot County YMCA (four half day workshops).



The workshops included safe boating practices such as proper stabilization in small craft; boating laws and regulations; use of nautical charts and related aids to navigation; proper use of the radio to report accidents and other hazardous situations; responses to boating emergencies such as fire, crew over board, care of common boating injuries; hypothermia; and, environmental issues. Students practiced skills of throwing rescues, use of the radio, and entering and leaving small boats. They were also engaged in simulated experiments that demonstrate environmental clean up, effects of cold water, sun, and alcohol on one’s ability to function safely, use of common navigation aids that can be found on local rivers, and selecting first aid equipment/supplies in readiness for potential/common injuries in, on and around the water.



Sixty plus members of the MRSPS and its auxiliary, the Half Miles, organized in six teams to conduct seven sessions for each of the five workshops. Each team was lead by a team leader who was responsible for planning, collecting needed equipment and materials and organizing instructors to deliver the specific topics assigned to the team. Many of the members have completed multiple boating safety courses provided by the USPS that range from basic boating safety through celestial navigation. The combination of study and years of practical experience in operating their own boats makes this a rich experience for Talbot County students who have easy access to navigable waters.



Go to http://www.mrsps.org/ to find more details about this program.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Florida Boaters: Call to Action

This is a request from the Florida Boating Law Administrator, Captain Richard Moore, to support the Fish and Wildlife Commission's phased-in Mandatory Boating Education proposal in Florida. Please review the proposal (see the PFD link below) and if you see fit, voice your support as a concerned boater, NOT as a representative of USPS.

R/C William E. Husted, SN
Chairman
Govt./Partner Relations Committee
United States Power Squadrons

From Capt. Richard Moore....

First, I want to say thanks to you and your colleagues for your interest in our two legislative proposals this year addressing boating safety issues. The proposals address children under 13 being required to wear life jackets and a phase-in of boating safety course requirements to reach boaters of all ages. As requested, I am passing along important information regarding the status of these two proposals within the legislative process.

The proposals will receive their first hearing before the House Committee on Conservation and State Lands next Wednesday, February 6th, from 9 am to noon here in Tallahassee. My agency is working hard to inform the committee members of the issues in advance, and there will be a presentation by my agency on the basic facts related to the proposals. There will also be an opportunity for public comment on the issues as well. Any of your colleagues who choose to attend the meeting can have an opportunity to voice their opinions.

Since you have inquired about how you and your colleagues can voice support for the proposals, I wanted to let you know who the committee members are so you can contact them as you, your colleagues, and other interested parties may choose. Legislators receive public comments by telephone, personal visits, letters, and emails. With the fairly short timeframe before this meeting, phone calls and emails may prove to be most efficient and effective. Each committee member and a link to their email option are as follows:

Representative Will Kendrick, Chairman
223 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 488-7870
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/emailrepresentative.aspx?MemberId=4191&SessionId=57

Representative Faye Culp, Vice Chair
204 House Office Building
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 488-2770
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/emailrepresentative.aspx?MemberId=4274&SessionId=57

Representative Richard Machek
209 House Office Building
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 488-5588
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/emailrepresentative.aspx?MemberId=4233&SessionId=57

Representative Mary Brandenburg
221 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 488-0260
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/emailrepresentative.aspx?MemberId=4281&SessionId=57

Representative Charles Chestnut
1301 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 488-5794
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/emailrepresentative.aspx?MemberId=4374&SessionId=57

Representative Rene Garcia
214 House Office Building
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 487-2197
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/emailrepresentative.aspx?MemberId=4239&SessionId=57

Representative Doug Holder
1101 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 488-1171
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/emailrepresentative.aspx?MemberId=4372&SessionId=57

Representative Robert Schenck
1102 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 488-6641
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/emailrepresentative.aspx?MemberId=4386&SessionId=57

Representative Will Weatherford
1101 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 488-5744
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/emailrepresentative.aspx?MemberId=4399&SessionId=57

I have been told that there is a counter proposal related to our boating safety education initiative that is supported by the “boating coalition” consisting of the marine industry and a few other boating organizations. This proposal would effectively “lift the cap” of our current 21 and under law, which would most likely take us back to a born-after date type of law. One may assume that the starting date that would be chosen would begin with those currently affected by our law, so it would probably affect persons born after some date in 1989. Unfortunately, such a law would take 30 or so years before it would start affecting boat operators over 50, which are the operators involved in most of Florida’s accidents and fatalities. As suggested, it would never affect current boaters 22 years of age and older, since they would boat the rest of their lives without ever needing to take a course. As Florida’s boating safety program manager, I personally hate to see us delay implementation of a law that is favored by boaters (based on many surveys) and could serve as one of the most important life saving efforts ever taken to improve recreational boating safety in Florida.

The legislative proposal offered by my agency is pretty comprehensive and good reading. It can be found at the following link:
http://myfwc.com/commission/2007/Sept07/Documents/BoatingSafetyEdu2008CM3Final16A1.pdf

Some of you have asked for talking points that may be used to help develop your communication with committee members, and I have pulled some from our legislative proposal document. I would encourage you and your contacts to personalize your communication with members, and have also offered a template of sorts as requested. I hope this helps you and your contacts voice your support for the boating safety education proposal. A typical format may look something like:

1. Introduce yourself, where you are from, and what type of boating you do.
2. Thank them for considering a proposal to expand boating safety education requirements to boaters of all ages using a phase-in approach.
3. Express your support for such a proposal and tell why. (some bullets from our proposal follow, and you can use as you see fit)
* There is widespread support among recreational boaters
* Most boaters involved in accidents, especially those resulting in death, are older, more experienced boat operators who have never taken a safety course
* Research has shown that requiring boaters to take a boating safety course in a rapid phase-in approach can dramatically reduce boating fatalities.
* Since Florida leads the nation in unnecessary boating fatalities, we have a lot to gain. We also have many lives to lose by delaying an educational requirement that reaches older boaters.
4. Ask for their support for a rapid phase-in boating safety education requirement for boat operators of all ages.

Thank you for your continued checking up on the status of this initiative and for your obvious desire to see this effort through to fruition. This committee meeting may be the first legislative discussion on the issue, but it is also a very important one. Should the committee decide not to take up the issue or to respond to alternative proposals by making major modifications, our chance of getting this legislative proposal passed this year is pretty well over. Each and every step is an important one, and this one will lay the foundation for where it goes from here.


If you or any of your colleagues intend to attend the committee meeting next week, they are welcome to call me to discuss the process and for some pointers ahead of time.

If there is any additional information you need, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I can be reached on my cell phone at 850-251-0264 just about any time, especially for this.

Richard

Captain Richard Moore
Boating Law Administrator
FWC Division of Law Enforcement