Members of the Darien Sail & Power Squadron will present a six-week safe boating course at Middlesex Middle School starting Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m.

"The focus in this part of Long Island Sound is on basic coastal boating skills, significantly more than the minimum requirements set by the state in their one session classes," said instructor Richard Woods. "This is a course and not just a class on state regulations.

"We can say it covers the state requirements for the certificate, but then it also covers `Radio, Ropes, and Charts,' a short way of saying there are many major topics that can be covered when you have a course that meets over a period of weeks. We use `Radio, Ropes and Charts' to call attention to the fact that while these topics are not covered in the short state classes, the Squadron believes they are vital to good seamanship in our area of Long Island Sound."

Frank Kemp, also an instructor, added, "We are also very pleased to announce that members of this course will be included in the Squadron's `Spring Refresher,' a morning of on-the-water activities in mid-May. This new program will allow students to actually practice what they learned in the classroom, the use of charts, radios, lines, anchoring, as much as time will allow."

Kemp said students are assigned to boats in small groups, with everyone taking part in the exercises.

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"We had 10 boats on the water, with 40 students last year. We will surely have as many this year as the interest in this is high. Of course, we'd like to run the on-the-water exercises as the class is going on, but delaying this part of the exercise until May makes it a lot more enjoyable for everyone."

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.

Graduates of the course are awarded a diploma that is recognized by the state as the Safe Boating Certificate.

This course also meets the requirements for the Coastal Boater Endorsement, recently introduced by the state's Boating Division. This supplement to the Safe Boating Certificate recognizes 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 class is $95, which includes the text book, charts and plotting equipment. Although pre-registration is not necessary, class materials may be reserved by filling in the form at or by calling 203-656 -1129 for further information. A schedule of classing listing the topics to be discussed can be obtained by emailing