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Atlanta Sail & Power Squadron

Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron is a social organization as well

In the last couple of articles I have spent time talking about safety on and around the water, and our organizations commitment to advance water safety by example and through public education. Our membership oath has some ideals, among others, that essentially say we will promote high standards of seamanship, maintain and operate our boats in a safe, legal manner, and come to the aid of others whenever possible. One of the primary organizational goals nationwide of the United States Power Squadron is to promote boating safety through education. But, we are also a social organization comprised of people from all walks of life who share an enthusiastic common interest in boating.

This year alone ASPS has had monthly raft-ups during the boating season on Lake Lanier and we have organized trips to other waters. Deep sea fishing from Fernandina Beach, FL appealed to some of our members, while others found scalloping off Florida’s west coast near Steinhatchee more their style. Everyone had a good time and the catch was delicious. We even organized a week-long cruise to the Finger Lakes region of New York. What a beautiful area steeped in history and some good wines to boot. A chartered canal boat was as comfortable and homey on the Erie Canal as on Lake Cayuga.

On the last weekend of September, quite a few of our members will embark on a trip closer to home and explore Lake Jocassee in the mountains of South Carolina and all our members are looking forward to our annual Leaf Cruise on Lake Lanier in early November. There’s hardly a better way to bring our boating season to a finale than cruising together and admiring Mother Nature’s Autumn splendor from the water.

But, our organization is not just about ourselves either. A number of our members take a particular interest in the Calvary Childrens’ Home. So, an afternoon on the water was organized. There is little to compare with the heartwarming smile of a child who is having a new adventure and discovering a whole new world riding on a boat during a beautiful summer afternoon.

Circling back to one of our primary goals of promoting safe boating through education, please take note of our final presentation of Americas Boating Course (ABC) on November 8 at the Lake Lanier Management Office, 1050 Buford Dam Rd., Buford. As our national slogan says “Come for the boating education, stay for the friends.”  Also, check out our website to learn more:  www.AtlantasBoatingClub.com.  

I hope this article has helped illustrate that the United States Power Squadron is devoted to safe boating and its members have a good time doing so.

Woody Williams is Executive Officer with the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron.

Column by Woody Williams. More info: 770 734-6412,  www.atlantasboatingclub.com. ASPS members have access to advanced boating classes, social events on and off the water year round, fun and informative monthly membership meetings, and more.


No September column

August 2014 column - By Woody Williams

Water safety - from poolside or at sea

One of the foremost responsibilities that the United States Power Squadron has assumed in its 100- year history is teaching safe boating to its members and the public. Just as safe driving, which certainly needs more emphasis around Atlanta, can save lives, safe boating can, too. Personally speaking, learning the “rules of the road” and navigation skills as they pertain to boating has made me a more careful and thoughtful driver on the road as well.

Lately, two events came to my attention, first an eye opening article by Mario Vittone and, second, something we observed on Lake Lanier during a recent Sunday afternoon boating trip. As we slowly motored over a very shallow ridge between an island and the main shore of Lake Lanier, I could see the bottom just two or three feet below. There were several kids in the water on the island end of the ridge enjoying the water near some adults and their anchored boat. They looked like a happy family out for a pleasant day at the lake. The most adventurous child had on a life jacket and seemed to be cautiously exploring the shallow ridge, while the other children remained close to the adults but were not wearing life jackets. As I slowly motored by and glanced at my depth finder I could not help wondering if the adults were aware of  just how close to danger those children were. The bottom had dropped very quickly to 40 feet.

The editor of our Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron newsletter, “The Waterlog,” brought to my attention a terrific article about water safety. Mr. Vittone’s 2010 article entitled “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning” is so important it has already been translated into 15 languages. It can be read in entirety at mariovittone.com and it cannot come more highly recommended. Mr. Vittone knows of what he speaks. After joining the Coast Guard in 1991 he graduated from the Helicopter Rescue Swimmer School in 1994 and began his career as a rescue swimmer. He is a leading expert on immersion hypothermia, drowning, sea survival, and safety at sea. In 2007 he was named Coast Guard Active Duty Enlisted Person of the Year and in 2009 he was recipient of the Alex Haley Award for Journalism. His writing appears in many boating and sporting magazines. Now retired from the Coast Guard, he directs the maritime safety division of VLinc Corporation.

Some of the highlights of his article state that “Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event.” In the real world, it looks nothing like what is portrayed on TV and in movies.  Moreover, drowning is the number two cause of accidental death (just behind vehicle accidents) in children aged 15 and younger.  

Dr. Francesco Pia, PhD has described what people instinctively do to avoid suffocating in water as the Instinctive Drowning Response. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. Physiologically, drowning people are too occupied with simply trying to breathe. Their mouths are not above the water surface long enough to exhale, inhale and then call out for help before their mouths go under again. Breathing must come before calling out.  Drowning people cannot wave for help because they are too busy using their arms trying to keep their heads above water. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning to perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for rescue equipment. (Throw a life ring or other floatation device beyond a drowning person and then pull it to them.) Unless rescued, drowning people can struggle on the surface for only 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

Mr. Vittone continues, “Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning.” They may simply appear to be treading water. If there is the slightest doubt, simply ask the person “Are you OK?” If they can answer, they probably are OK. If not, then you may have only 30 seconds to rescue them. And parents – children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, get to them fast and find out why.

Getting back to those kids having a good time in the water on Sunday afternoon, I do hope they had a good time in the lake and all was well. But, I have written this article trying to draw attention to the care one must take to enjoy the water safely. Please have a great time using the wonderful water resources that bless our area, but do so with care and intelligence. Learn to swim. Take safe boating skills classes from Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron and others. Read Mr. Vittone’s article on the Internet. But, most of all, make sure you and all your loved ones wear a life jacket!


July 2014 column
- by Woody Williams

Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron summertime activities abound

Even though the United States Power Squadron places great emphasis on boating education and safety, we are also a fraternal organization enjoying many social activities both on the water and off. For instance, we have at least six monthly raft-ups or cruises on Lake Lanier not only to enjoy being on the water during a beautiful summer day, but also to enjoy being with people who enthusiastically share a love for boating and who have become friends. The raft-ups usually include several larger cruisers, a sail boat or two, the occasional houseboat and some smaller boats. In this case, size matters only when selecting the anchors to hold us in place during a fun afternoon.

In addition to local boating activities, there are several other trips planned for this summer, one to the Finger Lakes and Erie Canal in New York, two seafood trips to Florida, one for deep sea fishing and the other for inshore scalloping, and a Potomac River cruise this Fall to visit Washington, DC, Mount Vernon, and several other places of interest along the way. Usually, we plan a long weekend trip to a nearby lake in the autumn, too, for some boating, picnicking and enjoying the scenery with friends. In recent years we have visited Lake Chatuge, a very special place in the nearby Georgia mountains, and this fall we have an exciting trip planned for Lake Jocassee in South Carolina’s mountains. And, naturally, there is always the highlight of a Leaf Cruise on Lake Lanier, timed to coincide with the peak of fall colors, to conclude our cruising season together.

An important characteristic of the Power Squadron is not only that we teach boating classes emphasizing all aspects of boating knowledge, hands-on boating skills and safety, but we try diligently to practice what we teach while enjoying wonderful boating opportunities. At the very least, every trip requires good navigation and boat handling skills, knowledge of and adherence to rules of the road, constant situational awareness, and preparedness to handle the unexpected. While zipping through the water with the wind and spray in your face is great fun, there is nothing quite so comforting and satisfying as truly knowing how to return everyone safely to the dock with the boat unscathed.

Check out the upcoming lake events section for information about classes we have coming up and how to get in touch. As our national slogan says, “Come for the boating education … Stay for the friends”.

Have a fun summer on the water … safely! And, don’t forget to wear that life jacket, too!


June 2014 column - by Tim Tyson

There are lots of interesting tidbits in our 'Waterlog'

You notice a man atop a sinking sailboat in the English Channel. You race to offer assistance only to find that the sailor is a French artist who designed and built this craft to look as if it were sinking in the first place! Are you amused … or pretty ticked off? You might want to look at the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron’s newsletter, the “Waterlog,” and see for yourself. Simply go to www.atlantasboatingclub.com (you need not log in) and click on “Waterlog.”

You are returning to Nantucket from Hyannis on your 23-foot Maritime Patriot. You go into the tiny cabin to sleep with your small children. You are awakened when the boat runs aground. You race up and … no husband. He was never found. Relieving one’s self over the side of the boat in the middle of nowhere (in the middle of the night) with the boat in gear, not wearing a kill switch, and with no lookout will probably NOT qualify you for the Nobel Prize in Physics. It’s in the Waterlog.

What are the main causes of boats sinking, both at the dock and on the water? Read the Waterlog and find out.

The Waterlog asks swordfish boat captain Linda Greenlaw (“Swords, Life On the Line,” “The Perfect Storm”) what the most important piece of safety equipment one can have aboard their boat would be. Without hesitation she replies, “Your brain.” Boating, safety, and brains are not just words. They are not mutually exclusive, and they are absolutely linked. Serious recreational boaters who want to spend quality time on the water have a perfect right to be infuriated at those folks who think that it is their God given right to propel their vessels in any way they desire. Not so.

May 17-23 was Safe Boating Week. After the tragic deaths of Jake and Griffin Prince in one accident on Lake Lanier, and Kile Glover in another, it looks like our boating community’s concern over safe boating has finally shaken us boaters to our core. State Senator Butch Miller, Majority Caucus member from District 49, a sponsor of GA Senate Bill 136, and an ASPS member, outlines the bill in this month’s Waterlog.

ASPS offers a variety of benefits that could only serve to help you in your boating “life.” We will come to your boat and inspect everything DNR will ... and more! If you fail the ASPS inspection, well, you get the problem(s) taken care of. If you fail the DNR inspection, pull out your wallets. This falls under the heading “Safe.”

ASPS has an educational program that, had he taken their most basic course back in the early 1980s, this writer might have been spared what turned out to be a pretty scary – and pretty lousy – afternoon. Oh, yes, that’s in the Waterlog as well. If we were to hold a “Stupid Contest” for on-the water-nonsense, there might not be a winner. But we could be losers. Our educational program falls under the heading “Smart.”

The motto of the ASPS is “Safe, Smart, and Fun.” In order to be safe, you need to be smart. And in order to have fun, you need to be safe. You owe it to yourself – and to your fellow boaters – to check out the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron’s boating safety and education programs. Go to www.atlantasboatingclub.com and check us out. We have meetings every third Thursday, with interesting programs and speakers and wonderful fellowship. We’d certainly enjoy having you join us. Who knows, you might find out you want to join. And that would fall under the heading “Fun.”

Tim Tyson is District Flag Lieutenant and Waterlog newsletter editor.


May 2014 column - by Woody Williams

U.S. Power Squadron celebrates 100 years of safe boating

During this centennial year, the US Power Squadron is celebrating its 100 year long dedication to smart and safe boating. Historically speaking, the USPS has been educating boaters throughout its 100 years, training over 5,000 men in things nautical during World War I. And, during World War II, some 3,000 USPS members joined our armed forces and played a significant part in developing courses and setting standards for instruction in navigation and related subjects.

Today, USPS, through its some 40,000 national members and over 400 local squadrons – Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron being one of the largest and most active – continues to provide boaters everywhere with a wide range of educational offerings. From basic courses such as Americas’ Boating Course (ABC), a one-day, family-friendly, general boating course, through Celestial Navigation and advanced Boat Operator Certification, we offer educational opportunities of interest to every boater, no matter their skill level. Our next ABC course begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 7th at the Army Corps of Engineers Lanier Project Management Office. The address is 1050 Buford Dam Road in Buford. ABC provides just the right way for a beginning boater and their family to get started on a lifetime of smart, safe and enjoyable boating.

Also, the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron provides free Vessel Safety Checks. These checks provide a boat owner the opportunity to learn whether their boat meets some important safety standards. Are life jackets sufficient, are navigation lights in good operating order, how about your horn, is there a proper fire extinguisher aboard, do you have something to bail out a swamped boat, is your VHF radio working, do you have emergency signaling flares and a first aid kit? Do you know how to properly use all these items? Also, is your registration up to date and do you have a copy of the new Georgia boating regulations? These are just some of the important safety considerations we will help you address. Remember, a VSC is both free and valuable!

National Safe Boating Week is from May 17-23. To get the week off to a good start, Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron is sponsoring Boat Operator Certification training for its fellow District 17 members from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Asheville, NC. BOC training enables a boater to acquire and then demonstrate their boating knowledge through their actual boating skills. Theoretical knowledge goes into practice during hands-on boating safety and powerboat handling training. It includes on-the-water instruction in boat handling, piloting, course and position plotting, anchoring and much more. One of the essential requirements of all BOC participants is that they must wear a life jacket at all times while on the water during training. This is particularly important not just during National Boat Safety Week, but every time one goes boating. As the National Safe Boating Council reports, 71 percent of all boating accident victims drowns, and of those, 85 percent were not wearing a life jacket. Good life jackets are readily available in comfortable, self-inflating models, so there is no excuse not to wear one. Remember, the life you save may be your own!

Join with us and celebrate smart, safe and fun boating not just during National Safe Boating Week, but every week. Come for the Boating Education ... Stay for the Friends.

Column by Woody Williams. More info: 770 734-6412,  www.atlantasboatingclub.com


Column on hiatus September 2013-April 2014


August 2013 column - By Lisa Beers

A discussion of new boating laws and how to comply

You may be aware that some new boating laws went into effect this year, but understanding what they mean to you may be confusing. I know that when I read the actual laws I felt like I needed a law degree to get my head around it! Thanks to the many resources I have as a member of the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron I was able to get access to more understandable information to ensure that I am always compliant with the new laws. Now I’d like to pass this along to all of you. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources created an excellent resource that clearly explains the laws in plain language, and I’ll recap some of the important issues here.

Boating under the influence laws got tighter. If you are stopped and asked for a sobriety test, refusal can result in your boating privileges being revoked. If you are tested for sobriety, the limit is now .08 and if you are found to be boating under the influence you cannot operate a boat again until you successfully complete a program approved by the state. You will also be charged with a misdemeanor and could be punished by a fine up to $1,000 and you could serve up to 12 months in prison. Make sure that you always have a designated driver on your vessel.

On of the biggest changes in the law are the new age restrictions. Effective July 1, no one under 12 may operate a PWC or any vessel over 16 feet or with a motor larger than 30 horsepower. A child under 12 may operate a vessel under 16 feet that has a motor under 30 horsepower (Class A vessel) if they are accompanied by a sober adult 18 or older.

Children between 12 and 15 years old may operate a PWC or Class A vessel if they are accompanied by a sober adult 18 or older AND have completed a DNR-approved boating education course. They are not allowed to operate vessels over 16 feet or 30 hp at all.

Once a child turns 16, they may operate a PWC or Class A, I, II, or III vessel if they have proper identification. This rule applies to children currently 16 and above, but if you were born before January 1, 1998 and look forward to operating a vessel there is another consideration that applies to you. In this case you will need to successfully complete a DNR-approved boating education course prior to lawfully operating a PWC or vessel.

Yes, this means that if your child is not already 16, they will be required to complete a boating course before they can legally operate any vessel. Luckily, you have many options for helping your child meet this requirement and the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron’s “America’s Boating Course” is one of your options.

Make plans now to attend our next “Basics of Boating” class as a family. This one-day class teaches boat handling (docking and trailering), safety equipment and procedures, navigation basics (the rules of the road), and boat types and terminology, and much more. The class is approved by the State of Georgia Department of Natural Resources and by the National Association of the State Boating Law Administrators and it satisfies the requirements of Georgia’s new laws. The cost for your text is $35 and families may share. Our next class on Lake Lanier will be held on August 10, and a class on Lake Allatoona is scheduled for August 17. Please visit our website www.AtlantasBoatingClub.com for more details and how to sign up.

Got the basics covered? Great! Now you’re ready for our advanced boating courses. Our fall class series starts September 9 in Atlanta. Classes being offered this fall are Weather, Cruise Planning, and Advanced Piloting.

The Weather class covers awareness of weather phenomena, how to read the weather map and the sky, and understand and anticipate weather developments for more pleasurable boating are the objectives of this course.

The Cruise Planning class will help you prepare for a cruise, whether the cruise is for a day, a week, a month, or longer. Whether you are going to cruise on rivers, lakes, the coasts, or across the oceans, very valuable information is provided by those who have been there.

Advanced Piloting is open to students who have already completed our Piloting course and builds on the knowledge gained in that class to teach how to navigate safely in coastal waters, predict tides and tidal currents and their impact on boat position, advanced positioning techniques, and the use of electronic navigation systems for positioning and course planning. AP includes an extensive exercise in plotting and labeling to hone your skills and build your confidence.

Make sure you visit us at www.AtlantasBoatingClub.com for the full details on these classes, their exact time and location, and to register.

It’s even more important now than ever to be an educated boater! ASPS is the resource you need – to not only ensure you are compliant with the new laws, but also to help you be safer and more confident on the water. We invite you to take advantage of our many educational opportunities and look forward to seeing you soon.


No May, June, July 2013 column

April 2013 column - By Lisa Beers

Prepare your boat - and you - for the season

Spring has sprung! We’ve had a few glimpses of warm sunny weather, the trees and flowers are beginning to bloom, and the lake is almost at full pool. The upcoming spring and summer boating season is upon us and the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron has a full slates of events that are safe, smart, and fun.

April brings a great opportunity for education with our popular one-day America’s Boating Course. ABC teaches the basics of boating, such as boat handling (docking and trailering), safety equipment and procedures, navigation basics (the rules of the road), and boat types and terminology. This class is great for adults and teens, you can enjoy learning as a family. The class is approved by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and by the National Association of the State Boating Law Administrators. The next class will be April 27, 2013 from 8:30-5:30. The cost for your text is $35 and families may share. Please visit our website atlantasboatingclub.com for location, more details and how to sign up.

Two great ways to get to know us better are our general membership meetings and raft-ups. Our April general membership meeting will be held on April 18. General Membership Meetings are also a terrific way to meet members and learn more about what our squadron is about. Our next raft-up is planned for April 20. Visit our website to contact us and find our more about joining us as a guest for the upcoming meeting or raft-up.

A very important aspect of preparing for the boating season is to make sure your vessel is ready. One way you can do this is by having a free Vessel Safety Check performed. VSCs are courtesy examinations of your boat to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal authorities. The Vessel Examiner is a trained specialist who will also make recommendations and discuss safety issues that will make you a safer boater. Visit our website at atlantasboatingclub.com today to contact us about scheduling your Vessel Safety Check.



March 2013 column - By Lisa Beers


Club has new officers following last month's Change of Watch

The Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron held our annual Change of Watch on Sunday, February 17 at the Dunwoody Country Club in Atlanta. This special yearly event honors the achievement of members from the prior year and ushers in the new year with the installation of new officers.

This year’s Bridge Officers are Commander Glenn LaBoda, Executive Officer Douglas Townes, Administrative Officer Elwood Williams, Secretary Beth Guler, Treasurer Sandy Robinson, and Education Officer Eric Ringwall. This year’s winner of the prestigious Nelle B. Moon Award is Nancy Leathers. The Nelle B. Moon Member Involvement Award recognizes one member annually who has distinguished themselves in service to the squadron and participation in squadron activities. It is named in honor of our first female Commander who served in in that position during the 1988 watch year. Congratulations to all of our new officers, chairpersons, and executive committee members, we look forward to another outstanding year of fun, education, and growth.

As we look forward to spring and the start of another summer on the lake, it’s important to make sure we’re are ready for a fun and safe season of boating. Our America’s Boating Course teaches the basics of boating, such as boat handling (docking and trailering), safety equipment and procedures, navigation basics (the rules of the road), and boat types and terminology. This class is great for adults and teens, plus you can enjoy learning as a family. The class is approved by the State of Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR) and by the National Association of the State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). The next classes will be March 2 and April 27, please visit our website atlantasboatingclub.com for more details on exact times and locations, and to sign up.

Another important aspect of getting ready for the boating season is to make sure your vessel is ready. One way you can do this is by having a free Vessel Safety Check performed. VSCs are courtesy examinations of your boat to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. The vessel examiner is a trained specialist who will also make recommendations and discuss safety issues that will make you a safer boater. We have a special VSC event planned for April 6 so visit our website at atlantasboatingclub.com for time and locations.

Our next general membership meeting will be held March 21. Please visit our website for details and location, and to inquire about joining us for a meeting. Our meetings are a great opportunity to hear exciting and informative speakers on a wide range of boating and water related topics, as well as an excellent time to meet members and learn more about ASPS.

March 23 kicks off our 2013 on-the-water social season with our first raft-up of the year, the Blessing of the Fleet. Raft-ups are always fun, with great food and fellowship as we make memories together. These raft-ups are a very popular part of our yearly activities, allowing us to spend time together on beautiful Lake Lanier.

Again, please visit atlantasboatingclub.com for more details about all of our classes and activities, and make sure to contact us about membership – don’t miss out on another season of fun with ASPS!


February 2013 column - By Lisa Beers

Boating courses, vessel checks and Change of Watch


It’s been great to have some very mild and pleasant weather lately, and many of us have been enjoying the lake more than normal for this time of year. It’s also encouraging to see the lake levels rise with the recent rain. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for a wet and rainy spring to bring the lake up even more. While nature is in charge of getting our beautiful lake ready for the spring and summer boating season, there are many things we should be doing as well in preparation.

America’s Boating Course (formerly Boat Smart) covers the basics of boating, such as boat handling (docking and trailering), safety equipment and procedures, navigation basics (the rules of the road), and boat types and terminology. This class is great for adults and teens, you can enjoy learning as a family! The class is approved by the State of Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR) and by the National Association of the State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). These classes are held throughout the year so please visit our website, www.atlantasboatingclub.com for more details, upcoming class dates, and how to sign up.

Our advance course in Marine Communication Systems starts February 4 in Atlanta. This class is a review of communications systems available to the recreational boater. Radio history and spectrum definitions are presented along with definitions of radio circuits that the student should learn, to choose the best communications method for his/her situation. The course covers Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), FCC Rules and regulations, High Seas radio (MF/HF and satellite communications) Family Radio Service transceivers. The course also covers troubleshooting of radio installations. Visit atlantasboatingclub.com for more details.

Now is the perfect time to sign up for a free Vessel Safety Check. VSCs are courtesy examinations of your boat to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. The vessel examiner is a trained specialist who will also make recommendations and discuss safety issues that will make you a safer boater. Having your VSC performed now will give you time to address any issues or missing safety items before warm weather gets here. Visit our website at www.atlantasboatingclub.com today to contact us about scheduling your Vessel Safety Check!

The 2013 Atlanta Boat Show was a great success, and the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron's booth gave attendees the opportunity to see what ASPS is all about and meet some of our members. If you didn’t attend, make sure to visit our website for all the information about benefits of membership, the types of educational and social events that we have throughout the year, and more.

February is always a special month for our squadron, as we celebrate our Change of Watch, installing a new bridge of officers to kick off a new year. We appreciate and thank our outstanding leadership in 2012 and look forward to an exceptional 2013!


January 2013 column - By Lisa Beers

Wrapping up the Seafarer's Ball for the ASPS

The Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron’s Seafarer’s Ball was held on December 8 and proved to be another special night for our members. This annual event is always a highlight of the year and an opportunity for us to get dressed up, enjoy great food, great friends and dance the night away. From all of us in the ASPS, we hope your holidays were special and that 2013 is your best year yet!

The winter session of advanced boating courses is starting soon and you still have a chance to register and get involved. Previously these courses were only available to United States Power Squadron members but now the public is encouraged to participate in this exceptional learning opportunity. Classes are held at the Heiskell School in Atlanta from 7 to 9 p.m.

The Piloting course will be held on Monday evenings, starting January 28. This course covers the basics of inland and coastal navigation. Learn to keep track of your position and how to plot a course to your destination. Topics include charts and their use, aids to navigation, mariner’s compass, variation and deviation, bearings, dead reckoning, and developing skill at plotting and labeling.

Junior Navigation will also be held on Monday evenings starting January 28. This is the first in a two-part program of celestial/offshore navigation classes.  Topics include precise time determination, how to use the Nautical Almanac, taking sextant sights of the sun, reducing the sights to establish lines of position and plotting/charting. The second part of this course is also available regularly through ASPS so be sure to register for part one now.

Marine Communication Systems will be on Tuesday evenings starting February 5. This course covers Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), FCC Rules and regulations, High Seas radio (MF/HF and satellite communications) Family Radio Service transceivers. The course also covers troubleshooting of radio installations. The first class in this course will be held at Heiskell School and most of the remaining classes will be online education sessions.

Please visit our website at atlantasboatingclub.com for full details on these courses and to sign up.

It’s that time of year again … the Atlanta Boat Show! The show will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center from January 10 through 13. Make sure you stop by the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron’s booth this year to meet some of our members and learn more about how we support Fun, Safe and Smart boating year round. Hope to see you there!


December 2012 - No new column

November 2012 column - By Lisa Beers

ASPS stays busy with conferences, cruises and cook-offs

Even though summer has come to an end, the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron is busier than ever with exciting on and off the water events. October and November prove to be the busiest months of the year for our squadron, as we host our USPS District 17 Conference, go cruising on Lake Lanier and in the Caribbean, and more!

Our squadron recently had the privilege to host the USPS District 17 Annual Fall Conference in Atlanta. The conference was held October 19-21and featured great education and amazing entertainment. The highlight of this event was a Broadway Cabaret style performance presented by past Commander Lisa Herndon and several members of our squadron. The costumes, singing and dancing were superb and will certainly be remembered by everyone in attendance for years to come. Our membership worked extremely hard to plan and host this conference, and we are very proud of their efforts, and of the successful event they made possible.

With little time to recuperate from the conference, we headed out of Fort Lauderdale on October 28 aboard the Ruby Princess for a seven-day Caribbean cruise. It was a treat to simply sit back and relax, letting the crew of the ship handle all the navigating, cooking, cleaning, and other tasks required for a week long cruising adventure. The cruise took us through Princess Cays, Bahamas, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands before returning to Fort Lauderdale. What a terrific and special opportunity to enjoy the beautiful waters of the Caribbean with great friends!

In November, we’ll be back to cruising the waters of Lake Lanier as we hold our Annual Fall Leaf Cruise. This cruise has become a squadron favorite, as we head north to the upper end of Lanier, enjoying the majestic colors of the trees lining our beloved lake. Our larger vessels raft up and spreads of appetizers, stews, and chili are offered for all to share, while some smaller vessels attempt to reach the northernmost boundary of Lanier. In the past years we’ve been blessed with glorious sunny fall weather and we all hope for the same this year.

Of course, our monthly General Membership Meetings continue year round. This month’s meeting is the annual chili cook-off, and members will again compete for bragging rights. General Membership Meetings are an excellent way to meet our bridge and members, and learn more about what the ASPS is all about. Visit our website at atlantasboatingclub.com for more details about our meetings, and to contact us about attending.

Our winter session of advanced boating courses has not formally been announced yet, but keep an eye on our website and this article for more details. The courses were formerly available only to members, but now are open to the public. They provide the best in boating education and will make you a better boater, whether you prefer to stay inland, head offshore, or enjoy both.

And of course it’s never too late to get your free vessel safety check! Our certified examiners offer these courtesy exams year round and scheduling one now can help ensure you’ll be ready for the colder weather (and waters!) over the coming months.

Visit our website at atlantasboatingclub.com to learn more about the vessel safety checks, and to schedule your VSC.


October 2012 column - By Lisa Beers

Classes, safety checks, cruises and raft-ups

If you are new to boating, or just want to freshen up your knowledge, “America’s Boating Course” (formerly BoatSmart) is your first step in boating education. Make plans now to attend our next basics of boating class on October 6 at the Corp of Engineers office in Buford. This one-day class teaches boat handling (docking and trailering), safety equipment and procedures, navigation basics (the rules of the road), and boat types and terminology, and much more. This class is great for adults and teens, you can enjoy learning as a family! The class is approved by the Department of Natural Resources and the National Association of the State Boating Law Administrators. The cost for your text is $35 and families may share. Please visit  www.AtlantasBoatingClub.com for more details and how to sign up.  

It’s never too late in the year to get your free Vessel Safety Check. VSCs are courtesy examinations of your boat to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. The Vessel Examiner is a trained specialist who will also make recommendations and discuss safety issues that will make you a safer boater. Visit our website at www.AtlantasBoatingClub.com today to contact us about scheduling your Vessel Safety Check!

Two great ways to get to know us better are our general membership meetings and raft-ups. Our October general membership meeting will be held on October 18. Our next raft-up is planned for October 13, visit our website to contact us and find our more about joining us as a guest for the upcoming meeting or raft-up.

A great benefit of membership in the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron is the trips that we have throughout the year. We invaded Lake Chatuge in September, an event filled with fun and friendship! We had a wonderful time exploring this gorgeous lake by power boat, canoe and kayak and just having an overall great weekend spending time together. Also in September we took a cruise on the Tennessee River.

Make sure to visit us online at www.AtlantasBoatingClub.com to find our more about our educational offerings, trips and meetings!


September 2012 column - By Lisa Beers

Full fall schedule of classes offered for safe boating

School’s back in session but there are still plenty of great times to be had on the beautiful waters of Lake Lanier! As we head into fall the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron has lots of trips and classes planned.

Our next America’s Boating Course (formerly BoatSmart) will be held on October 6 at the Corps of Engineers office in Buford. During the one-day class you’ll learn all the basics of boating, including on the water boat handling, docking and trailering, safety equipment and procedures, navigation basics such as the “rules of the road,” boat types and terminology, and much more. The class has a low cost of $35 for the textbook, and families may share this resource. Visit www.atlantasboatingclub.com anytime to learn more and sign up.

For boaters looking for more advanced education, our fall class series starts September 10. Classes being offered this fall are Seamanship, Marine Electrical Systems, Advanced Piloting, and Navigation.

Seamanship is designed for all boaters who are interested in expanding on basic boating fundamentals. Boat handling and maneuvering are covered. Knowledge and skills are increased in the areas of anchoring, emergencies, rules of the road, and marlinspike/basic knots. This is the perfect “next step” after our one day “America’s Boating Course.”

Marine Electrical Systems covers boat electrical wiring practices and diagrams, direct and alternating current, galvanic and stray current corrosion and lightning protection. Trouble shooting and practical demonstrations make this a “must” for boaters.

Advanced Piloting is the second course in the USPS sequence of navigation classes. Topics include advancing a line of position – running fix, determining set and drift, and determining how tides and currents affect your course. Electronic navigating tools are used for course determination and hazard avoidance.

Navigation is the second program of celestial/offshore navigation classes. Topics include taking sextant sights of the stars, planets and moon to determine your position. Electronic software is utilized to plan and execute an offshore passage. Additional methods of sight reductions are also covered.

Full details on these classes and how to sign up can be found on our website at www.atlantasboatingclub.com.

Our members always love to put all this education to practice, and many of us took advantage of a recent opportunity to navigate the Erie Canal. A pontoon boat, cruiser and 10 jet skis made the 344-mile trip through 34 locks in August. Our next cruise will be on the Tennessee River in September. We also have a lovely fall trip to Lake Chatuge in North Georgia planned for late September. We’ll be taking over the lake and enjoying power boating, pedal boating, kayaking, and as always, excellent food and friendship. These trips are just part of the many benefits of membership in the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron!

And before I sign off for this month, another friendly reminder that it’s not too late to get your free Vessel Safety Check. Everyone who operates a power boat, sailboat, or jet ski should make sure that they have the right safety equipment for their vessel and that it’s in good working order. Many boaters do not realize exactly what equipment is needed, and may not know how to check it for proper operation. We are happy to help … for free! Our Vessel Safety Checks are courtesy examinations designed to help you make sure you have the proper equipment in good working order. Our examiners are all trained specialists and do not issue any citations. Our only goal is to assist the public with making sure your vessel is ready to operate safely and to provide recommendations and insights on how you can be a safer boater. Visit www.atlantasboatingclub.com anytime to learn more and request your free Vessel Safety Check.

Until next time, wishing you safe, smart and fun times on the water!


August 2012 column - By Lisa Beers

Safe, smart and fun boating is always the priority with ASPS

Summertime on Lake Lanier means fun to all the boaters, sailors, jet skiers, and park visitors who call the lake their playground and respite from the heat. The Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron feels the same, but we know that fun always needs to go hand in hand with being smart and safe while on and around the lake. Our slogan of “Safe, Smart and Fun” reminds us that boating fun is actually enhanced when we operate our vessels safely, and we continue to offer a variety of services and classes to the public to help you have a fun, smart and safe experience on the water.

Everyone who operates a power boat, sailboat, or jet ski should make sure that they have the right safety equipment for their vessel and that it’s in good working order. Many boaters do not realize exactly what equipment is needed, and may not know how to check it for proper operation. We are happy to help … for free! Our Vessel Safety Checks are courtesy examinations designed to help you make sure you have the proper equipment in good working order.

Our examiners are all trained specialists and do not issue any citations. Our only goal is to assist the public with making sure your vessel is ready to operate safely and to provide recommendations and insights on how you can be a safer boater. Visit www.atlantasboatingclub.com anytime to learn more and request your free Vessel Safety Check.

Education is also a key to safely operating your boat or jet ski. It’s not only good to understand the basics of boating, such as right-of-way on the water and how to safely dock, in today’s environment on our lake it’s critical to have the knowledge and confidence that good boating education provides. ASPS offers a one day “America’s Boating Course” (formerly BoatSmart) year-round. Our next session will be held on August 18 at the Lake Lanier Sailing Club in Flowery Branch. The class has a low cost of $35 for the textbook, and families may share this resource. If you have never had a boating basics class you certainly should sign up. Even boaters with years of practical experience leave surprised at how much they learned, and this course gives a solid foundation to new boaters. Visit www.atlantasboatingclub.com anytime to learn more and sign up.

Our advanced boating courses will be starting again in September. Classes being offered this fall include Seamanship, Marine Electrical Systems, Advanced Piloting, and Navigation.
Seamanship is designed for all boaters who are interested in expanding on basic boating fundamentals. Boat handling and maneuvering are covered. Knowledge and skills are increased in the areas of anchoring, emergencies, rules of the road, and marlinspike/basic knots. This is the perfect “next step” after our one day “America’s Boating Course.”

Marine Electrical Systems covers boat electrical wiring practices and diagrams, direct and alternating current, galvanic and stray current corrosion and lightning protection. Trouble shooting and practical demonstrations make this a “must” for boaters.

Advanced Piloting is the second course in the USPS sequence of navigation classes. Topics include advancing a line of position – running fix, determining set and drift, and determining how tides and currents affect your course. Electronic navigating tools are used for course determination and hazard avoidance.

Navigation is the second program of celestial/offshore navigation classes. Topics include taking sextant sights of the stars, planets and moon to determine your position. Electronic software is utilized to plan and execute an offshore passage. Additional methods of sight reductions are also covered.

Full details on these classes and how to sign up can be found at:  www.atlantasboatingclub.com.

When you have a few extra minutes at your computer, be sure to check out a series of boating “how to” videos provided by the United States Power Squadron, available on our website. Visit www.atlantasboatingclub.com and click “Boating Education Videos” in the menu to access short videos on quick stopping a power boat, docking, knowing your vessel’s actual capacity, what to do during a capsize, and many more topics.

So what about the fun? Every month during the spring, summer and fall the ASPS holds a raft-up in various locations around the lake. Most raft-ups have themes and some feature opportunities for water sports and other water based activities. In August we’ll have our own version of the Olympics with crazy races and friendly competitions. Visit our website and contact us if you’d like to join us at a raft-up. We also hold monthly General Membership Meetings which feature speakers on a variety of boating topics.

We also offer unique boating trips, such as our Erie Canal Trip that will take place between August 6 and 11. We’ll be riding jet skis and pontoon boats for 344 miles, through 34 locks along the Erie Canal. The trip will end at Tonawanda, NY, just entering the Niagara River. We should be able to see the mist rising from Niagara Falls. What an experience that will be!

See you on the lake!


July 2012 column - By Lisa Beers

This month's meeting topic will be 'out of this world'

ASPS is happy to once again be involved with Aquapalooza! Aquapalooza will be held on July 14 in Sunset Cove, and is brought to us by MarineMax and Lake Lanier Islands. This year ASPS will be providing shuttle service from anchored vessels to the shore and back in Sunset Cove. We also plan to host another hula hoop contest this year. Last year’s contest was so much fun to participate in (and watch), so be sure to look for ASPS on the beach. We’ve got great prizes too!

A fantastic way to get to know us better is to join us for a general membership meeting. Our next general membership meeting will be held on July 19 and will be very special! Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron member Dr. Mike Guler will be discussing the Mars Rover “Curiosity” and its planned August 5 landing on the surface of Mars. Curiosity was developed to assess whether Mars is, or ever was, able to sustain life. When Curiosity arrives on Mars it will be lowered onto the planet via a sky crane which, upon unloading the Mars rover, will leave and will have a hard landing several miles away. Part of this landing system will include equipment which measures distances from and speeds over Mars. The antennae which will relay this information back to earth were designed by Dr. Guler, who earned a PhD in antennae from the Georgia Institute of Technology. We are very excited to get such a behind-the-scenes presentation on the historical Mars landing, this is something you don’t want to miss! The meeting location had not been set at presstime so visit our website to find out where the meeting will take place.

If you’re new to boating, or just want to freshen up your knowledge, “America’s Boating Course” (formerly BoatSmart) is your first step in boating education. Make plans now to attend our next basics of boating class on August 18 hosted at the Lake Lanier Sailing Club in Flowery Branch. This one-day class teaches boat handling (docking and trailering), safety equipment and procedures, navigation basics (the rules of the road), and boat types and terminology, and much more. This class is great for adults and teens, you can enjoy learning as a family! The class is approved by Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR) and by National Association of the State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). The cost for your text is $35 and families may share. Please visit our website atlantasboatingclub.com for more details and how to sign up.

Also, the summer boating season is in full swing and you’ll want to make sure that you and your vessel is prepared for safe operation. Sign up for a free Vessel Safety Check from ASPS! VSCs are courtesy examinations of your boat to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. The vessel examiner is a trained specialist who will also make recommendations and discuss safety issues that will make you a safer boater. No citations are given and no reports are filled, this examination is conducted just for your benefit. Visit our website at atlantasboatingclub.com today to contact us about scheduling your free Vessel Safety Check!


June 2012 column - By Lisa Beers

ASPS celebrates Safe Boating Week


The Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron kicked off Safe Boating Week on May 19 with a raft-up focused on safety. Boats in attendance were given vessel safety checks, and our new AED was on hand to allow members to see the device, demo the training mode and learn more about how it is used.

For those who may not be familiar with an AED, this is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia and is able to treat them through defibrillation, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm. Unlike regular defibrillators, an automated external defibrillator requires minimal training to use. It automatically diagnoses the heart rhythm and determines if a shock is needed. Our squadron recently purchased this device to have on hand at all of our on-the-water events, including intracoastal waterway and river cruises.

If you’d like to sample what our squadron has to offer and meet some of our members, consider attending a general membership meeting. Our next meeting will be held on June 21. These meetings are a great opportunity to hear exciting and informative speakers on a wide range of boating and water related topics. Our June meeting will recap the squadron’s recent gulf intracoastal waterway cruise! Please visit our website for details and location, and to inquire about joining us.

A very important aspect of getting ready for this summer boating season is to make sure your vessel is ready. One way you can do this is by having a free Vessel Safety Check performed. VSCs are courtesy examinations of your boat to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. The Vessel Examiner is a trained specialist who will also make recommendations and discuss safety issues that will make you a safer boater. Visit our website at atlantasboatingclub.com today to contact us about scheduling your Vessel Safety Check!

It’s never too early to plan! Our next BoatSmart class will be held August 18 and teaches the basics of boating such as boat handling (docking and trailering), safety equipment and procedures, navigation basics (the rules of the road), and boat types and terminology. This class is great for adults and teens, you can enjoy learning as a family! The class is approved by the state of Georgia Department of Natural Resources and by the National Association of the State Boating Law Administrators.

Watch this article next month for more details about the time and location, or visit our website atlantasboatingclub.com for more details and how to sign up.


May 2012 column -
By Lisa Beers

Boat Operator Certification kicks off on Lake Lanier


The Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron is thrilled to add on-the-water training to its already extensive boating education programs. Just imagine putting your boating skills to the test with a qualified United States Power Squadron BOC Certifier on board your vessel. Boat Operator Certification bridges the gap between classroom instruction and live, on-the-water navigation and boat handling, and covers both inland and coastal applications.

Classroom instruction is an important part of learning, but as any boater knows, until you actually operate a boat in the water it’s hard to truly understand how a boat handles. This new on-the-water training and certification brings a unique and valuable opportunity to Lake Lanier which will help develop and test our boat handling skills.

Our first Inland Navigator powerboat handling skills training and assessment took place on April 24 at the Young Deer Creek park area. Despite a cold snap and brisk wind that morning, two certifiers, two candidates, two Department of Natural Resource rangers, several members of the press, and a group of ASPS members gathered to participate and view the skill demonstration.

The day began as a Vessel Safety Check was performed on the boat that was used for the certification. After launching the boat into the waters of Lake Lanier, buoys were set to mark the course and our candidates and their certifier took to the task at hand. Each candidate exhibited skills in handling the power boat, including navigating through a slalom course, leaving and returning to dock, backing maneuvers, minimum speed control, collision avoidance, controlled high speed turns, anchoring and more. The trained certifier assessed the candidates’ proficiency, as well as provided instruction as needed, always ensuring that safety is the primary concern.

Boat Operator Certification provides boaters with an extra level of confidence on the water, discounts on their boat insurance, and many other benefits. It is also a fun hands-on experience! Whether you are new to boating or honing old skills, BOC on-the-water training and certification is an excellent way to make sure you are fully prepared to handle your vessel. This certification is provided in conjunction with classroom training available through ASPS, and United States Power Squadron membership is required. Just another benefit of membership! Please visit our website at atlantasboatingclub.com to learn more about the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron's member and public educational opportunities.

If you’re new to boating, or just want to freshen up your knowledge, our BoatSmart class is your first step in boating education. Make plans now to attend our next BoatSmart, Basics of Boating class on June 2 at the US Army Corps of Engineers facility in Buford. The one-day class teaches boat handling (docking and trailering), safety equipment and procedures, navigation basics (the rules of the road), and boat types and terminology, and much more. The class is approved by the state of Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR) and by the National Association of the State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). The cost for your text is $35 and families may share. Please visit our website atlantasboatingclub.com for more details and how to sign up.

Also, now that the summer boating season is getting under way, you’ll want to make sure your vessel is ready. Sign up for a free Vessel Safety Check from ASPS. VSCs are courtesy examinations of your boat to verify the presence and condition of certain Safety Equipment required by Sta
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