A new boater safety course program for teenagers offers an exclusive opportunity to build life skills as they learn to operate and maintain power, paddle and sail craft.
The new program at Nathan Benderson Park allows youths 14 and older to earn their Florida boater’s licenses in a rare mix of classroom and on-the-water learning, but that’s not the primary objective. Over two weeks in October, participants will also develop self-confidence, social skills, and self-control, and demonstrate responsible behavior while having a great time.
The Spirit Of America Foundation’s Premier Youth Education Program partners with the park’s nonprofit operator, Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA), to offer this special boatsmanship program.
“It’s a great comprehensive boater safety education program,” NBP Program Manager Meghan Farrell said. “You’re learning these things the right way.”
Boater Safety Course Specifics
Nationally certified instructors will lead participants in 5 hours on the water in each of the three disciplines of powerboating, paddling, and sailing, including time with personal watercraft. The teens will develop “a wealth of knowledge on all boater safety,” Farrell said. They’ll get all the classroom learning for their boater’s license, but the on-the-water, hands-on experience in a safe environment is rare in boater licensing education, she added.
The curriculum condenses the national standards of several organizations governing sailing, canoes, kayaks and power boats, as well as that of the U.S. Coast Guard, she said.
“If you’re passionate about the water and boating, it’s a great camp,” Farrell said.
The program also contains a drowning prevention course and a visit from a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officer, who will speak about boating safety and opportunities in law enforcement with FWC.
“This program collaboration is another example of our commitment to providing educational opportunities through the unique attributes at Nathan Benderson Park,” SANCA Chief Operating Officer Stephen V. Rodriguez said. “From water adventure camp to Learn To Row and everything in between, SANCA remains committed to getting residents of all ages on the water, and to develop a knowledgeable and water-safe community.”
Upon completion, participants will receive a certificate and a gift, as well as their boater’s license.
The dates are Oct. 19-23 and 26-30, and there’s a $100 fee. For more information, visit their website.
About Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates at Nathan Benderson Park
Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates Inc. (SANCA) is a not-for-profit 501c3 business created to manage Nathan Benderson Park (NBP), a community/public asset and world-class, multi-use sports venue. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for our community and be an economic generator for our region. SANCA’s primary purpose is to develop and promote NBP as a world-class event center, team training site, and Sarasota County Park, while providing outreach programs through recreation, safety training, education, and volunteering as a service to our community. For more information, go to the website.
Photo courtesy of Deposit Photos