Blue Water Healthy Living
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Boater safety course offered in Ira Township

Photo courtesy of The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Boating Skills and Seamanship course has been taught to over 3.5 million boaters nationally.

Experienced or novice boaters’ welcome

By Barb Pert Templeton

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will present a four-day boater’s safety course in Ira Township in February and pre-registration is currently underway. 

By completing the course, students will receive a boating safety certificate. Boaters born after June 30, 1996, and most personal watercraft operators who operate a vessel in Michigan, must have a certificate (also called a boater education card).

The course will be held on consecutive Saturdays between February 18 and March 1l, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. Class will meet at the Ira Township Hall. The course fee is $40 which includes the Boating Skills and Seamanship (BS&S) textbook. Advance registration is recommended but walk-in registration is also possible on the day of the first meeting. To pre-register, contact Cindy Babisz at and note the class is limited to 20 students.

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The BS&S course is a comprehensive boater education course designed for both the experienced and novice powerboater. It provides up-to-date knowledge for handling boats under all conditions and has been taught to over 3.5 million boaters nationally.

Course topics will include: Choosing the right boat for your needs; equipment requirements; towing, launching and retrieving a boat; boat handling; rules of the road for boating traffic; an introduction to navigation; types of engines, ignition systems, batteries, and troubleshooting; lines and knots; weather; and your boat’s radio.

Photo courtesy of Coast Guard Auxiliary Association
The course text book is included in the $40 register fee.

This course is presented by U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 091-20-14 of New Baltimore, Michigan. 

Blue Water Healthy Living caught up with Pete Ferranti, FSO-PE, and Dan Hohnstadt, FC, of the USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 20-14, New Baltimore who responded to some questions about the upcoming course.

Blue Water Healthy Living: Who is this class for? All ages – men and women?

NB Auxiliary response: The Boating Safety and Seamanship class we are offering is open to middle school age through adults.  Both novices and experienced boaters can benefit, as Michigan has some new and updated laws that all boaters need to know. Completing the class and passing the exam provides attendees with an approved boater safety certificate.

BWHL: Is a certificate from the course different then a license to drive a boat? 

NB Auxiliary response: At this time Michigan does not have a designated license to operate a boat for recreational boaters. However, those born after July 1, 1996, require an approved boating safety certificate to operate a boat on Michigan waters. And those born after December 31, 1978, require the same certificate for operating a Person Water Craft on Michigan waters.

BWHL: Are books and handouts provided? Given the weather is it safe to assume these classes are all indoor presentations?

NB Auxiliary response: Books and handouts are provided for registered participants, and are included in the registration fee of $40.  Pre-registration may be done via, or registration may be done at the first session on Feb 18 at 9:00 am.  All class sessions are indoors.

BWHL: Are these classes offered every year? 

NB Auxiliary response: This and similar classes are offered yearly. Our flotilla offers classes in the winter, spring and fall, with dates to be determined. We are one of many Auxiliary flotillas in the area who offer classes. Classes are described and can be searched by zip code at

BWHL: Are the classes popular? 

NB Auxiliary response: Boating safety classes have always been popular. Michigan’s requirement that boaters born after 1996 have a boating safety certificate makes them even more popular. Different versions of the class appeal to different audiences – the Auxiliary offers instructor-led classes, which are best for asking questions and relating to real-life experiences.  This current class is the more in-depth Boating Safety and Seamanship class.

BWHL: Are boaters better prepared to go out on the water after completing a course like this one?  

NB Auxiliary response: Boaters attending courses such as this Boating Safety and Seamanship course, and passing the final exam, will know the rules of the road for safe boating. This prepares them to address many of the situations they will encounter when heading out on the water.

Ira Township Hall at 7085 Meldrum Road, Ira Twp, MI 48023The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit

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