In South Jersey, boat owners are ready to weigh anchor - and in Cape May, the Coast Guard Auxiliary was telling boat owners how to be safe out on the water.
Accidents and fatalities don't just happen on the roads…boating is a way of life for many people and staying safe on the water means knowing how to navigate your boat. "Most fatalities occur because people weren't wearing their life vest," explained Joseph Giannattasio, a former Division Commander in South Jersey.
Frank Verrichia, Flotilla Commander 82 of Cape May, told NBC40, "You need to take this course in order to have safe boating out there to protect yourself, your family, and other boaters that are out there."
In cape may, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary hosted a boating safety course Saturday morning that allows drivers to obtain a boating license.
Will Galbreath, who was taking the course, said, "The course was great; I think it's very necessary if you want to be safe when you're out on the boat. Again, it's not like driving a car, it's a totally different feeling."
Over 30 people passed the test, and in the process, learned about boating laws, regulations, safety equipment, and also how to successfully embark in open water. Commander Verrichia added, "The whole thing we teach is boating safety and having the proper equipment on your boat and knowing the boating rules out there in the water."
NBC40 spoke with some licensed boaters and they said the course is not just for the person driving but rather for the safety of everyone else out on the water as well. Gray Haenn, a licensed boater, said, "People think it's like driving a car but it's not. You get out there in the water and there are a lot of different scenarios and aspects you need to be aware of and it gets really dangerous out there. The water can be very unpredictable and unforgiving and if you're not ready - you're going to hurt yourself or someone else." His father, Jay Haenn, added, "You have to be prepared. You have to know what you're doing."
Officials from the Coast Guard Auxiliary urge anyone that will be driving a boat in New Jersey this Spring or Summer to take their safety course and make sure to understand all aspects of boating safety before climbing aboard.
To take a boating safety class call 609-898-0442.