Group stresses boater safety through program, boat inspection

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 5, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Division 8 of the Coast Guard Auxiliary will offer an American Boating Course to area residents this month.

The course, which will be held July 14 at the Demopolis Coast Guard Station, will provide residents an opportunity to earn a state vessel license and give boaters who already have a license an opportunity to brush up on their boating knowledge. Division Capt. Ward McFarland Jr. said the class provided by the auxiliary is one of the first chances the group will have to extend their work into the area.

McFarland said the auxiliary has recently been given the new area and he hopes to grow membership in the territory. He said programs like the class are a way to grow public interest in the volunteer group within the Coast Guard.

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Since the main focus of the auxiliary is boater safety, McFarland said the group mainly runs classes but they also work to make sure the waters are safe through patrol and helping keep the public aware of changing vessel laws in the state and nation. In this regard, the group, along with providing the class is also going to provide free boat inspections to make sure people&8217;s equipment is up to date, while at the same time alleviating normal concerns about such a check since the group will not be issuing citations for infractions.

The class at the Demopolis Coast Guard Station will be held from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on July 14. It will cost $15 a student, which includes a textbook, and family members can share a textbook and enroll in the class for $8. The class fulfills education requirements for a vessel license and can also lower the cost of boat insurance.

Vessel examiners, on the day, will be stationed at the Demopolis Civic Center and at the Demopolis Landing. The class is limited to 20 students and pre-registration is recommended.

To sign up contact Ward McFarland at 205-759-5161 or at