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Jan. 29, 2020
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Don’t miss these groups at the Atlanta Boat Show

By Pamela A. Keene 
 
Sometimes the best things in life are free. And with three Lake Lanier non-profit groups, you can tap into free boating knowledge, boating safety and how to help ensure a Clean Lake, Safe Lake and Full Lake.
 
Each year, the show’s organizers ­– the National Marine Manufacturers’ Association and the Metro Atlanta Marine Trade Association – are strong community supporters who work with lake-related organizations to help connect them with boat show attendees. 
 
Non-profits with booths this year include America’s Boating Club Atlanta, Flotilla 29 of the US Coast Guard and the Lake Lanier Association. All three offer information about boating and membership opportunities.
 
“Having a presence at the Atlanta Boat Show really helps us reach out to the boating community,” said Dave Fuller, incoming commander of America’s Boating Club Atlanta, formerly the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron. “Our Boating Skills Virtual Trainer, a simulator that recreates opportunities for testing and honing on-the-water abilities, is always popular. It gives people hands-on experience with boating situations without getting wet.” 
 
America’s Boating Club Atlanta and the Coast Guard Auxiliary provide boating safety and education information and classes throughout the year. Classes are open to the public for a nominal charge, depending on the level of the class.
 
The most popular courses offered by both organizations cover basic boating safety, 8-hour courses that instruct attendees on proper boat handling, Rules of the Road when boats meet on the water, simple information about local, state and federal laws and other topics of interest. People who pass the course are given a certificate of completion which, when presented to the boater’s insurance company, may result in reduced boat insurance rates. 
 
Both clubs also conduct Vessel Safety Checks at no charge to boaters during the boating season on Lanier to ensure that owners have equipped their vessels with the items required by Georgia law for safety on the water.
 
“Public education is primary for us at the Coast Guard Auxiliary and our boating class is taught in both English and Spanish,” said Chuck Kelemen, Flotilla commander for Lake Lanier. “During the four days of the boat show, we are actively helping people get updated on the latest state and federal laws about boating so that they can operate their vessels as safely as possible and within the laws and regulations.” 
 
The Lake Lanier Association uses the Atlanta Boat Show to educate and inform about issues crucial to the lake. As with the other groups, the show provides an excellent opportunity for new-member recruitment.
 
“Over the past couple of years, we’re finding that more of our members are using the boat show to remind them to renew their memberships,” said John Barker, president of the organization. “And we always attract new members to the association at the boat show.”
 
The association’s booth showcases the group’s projects, including Shore Sweep, the Abandoned Boats and Derelict Docks removal program, and the lighted hazard and navigation lights on Lake Lanier. “As we did last year, one of our big initiatives is educating people about the 100-foot rule,” Barker said. “We were surprised to find out how many people didn’t realize that Georgia law requires that boats slow to idle speed when within 100 feet of another vessel.” 
 
The Lake Lanier Association and America’s Boating Club Atlanta will be offering daily giveaways at their booths. LLA is offering prizes from some of its business partners. ABCA is conducting daily drawings for free boating classes. 
 
“We are grateful that the public makes an effort to keep themselves safe and stay abreast of current laws so that everyone can have a safe and enjoyable time on the water,” Kelemen said.
 
For more about America’s boating Club Atlanta, visit atlantasboatingclub.com. For information about Flotilla 29 of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, visit wow.uscgaux.info/peclass.php?unit=070-02-09 (or just Google them). And to learn about the Lake Lanier Association, visit lakelanier.org.

Posted online 12.26.19
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