Members of the Darien Sail & Power Squadron will host a safe-boating course starting Monday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. The course, which will take place at the Noroton Yacht Club, will focus on coastal boating skills needed to safely navigate in Long Island Sound. The course will meet twice a week for six classes and an exam. Graduates will qualify for the Connecticut Safe Boating Certificate, with the new Coastal Boating Endorsement.

"This is a `course,' and not a `class,'" said Richard Woods, a Squadron instructor. "Short classes can explain Connecticut regulations and be good for experienced boaters moving here from out of state. For anyone else, this course helps you understand what you will find south of any harbor on Long Island Sound. We are so lucky to live next to the most beautiful waters on the East Coast, yet we all have a challenge in providing a safe and enjoyable voyage for our friends and families. Long Island Sound may be beautiful, but she can also be foggy, shallow, rocky and throw sudden summer storms. These are some of the mysteries that our Squadron's course makes sense of, so that our students can learn something about boating. We want to give our students the confidence that what they've learned will help them make their summer trips safe and enjoyable for their passengers."

Woods said this is why the Squadron presents this "basic coastal boating course," rather than just a "safe-boating class," offering students a chance to "learn something about boating." He adds: "We've also been using the phrase `radio, ropes and charts' as shorthand for the additional topics included in this course."

Radio, ropes and charts is a quick list of the additional topics in the basic coastal boating course. `Radio' refers to the VHF Digital Selective Calling -- the `red button' on the new sets that if you have done the proper preparation, will identify you and your location to the Coast Guard in event of an emergency. The DSC has other features that are especially useful as well.

Ropes become `lines' on a boat -- and the class covers the basic knots, cleats and line care that make it easy to get into and away from any dock in any weather.

Charts refers to both the chart plotter/GPS devices as well as the traditional paper charts. The Squadron course covers these features and more.

The course covers basic boat handling and seamanship; equipment and regulations; an introduction to charts and aids to navigation; basic piloting; and navigation rules. The course is directed at general, practical issues of interest to all boaters, and is not targeted to either power or sail.

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This course satisfies the requirements for the Connecticut Safe Boating Certificate, plus the Coastal Boater Endorsement, introduced to recognize students who complete courses that are more comprehensive than the minimum requirements.

The state's Safe Boating Certificate regulations apply to all operators of vessels registered in the state, regardless of age.

The cost of the course ($95), includes the text book, charts and plotting equipment. To reserve course materials, pre-register for free at Further information and the course schedule is available by phoning 203-656 -1129 or e-mail to