> US SAILING Media > Latest News > 2013 > Powerboat Education: Safety, Rescue & Mark-Set Boat Handling Course
“The program was developed to increase the depth of skill available for club and local level races for race course management,” said Craig Prinski, US Powerboating Instructor. “Many yacht clubs take advantage of US Sailing certified PROs for race committee duties, but still often rely on volunteers for mark set and safety boat operations. This course helps other race management personnel gain vital knowledge and experience to react quickly on the water and provide a better experience for the racers.”
The course is open to entry level participants. Sailing experience or knowledge of typical racing courses is beneficial. The only perquisite is to have successfully completed a state or National Association of State Boating Law Administrators approved Safe Boating Course.
The course uses two publications, Start Powerboating Right and Safety Rescue and Support Boat Handling and covers three main subject areas:
1. Powerboat Safety with an emphasis for hands on practical experience in preparation/operation, high-speed maneuvers and slow speed control when inches count.
2. Mark Set boat skills, which include taking and reporting wind readings, setting marks accurately, basics of calculating the bearings to set a course on the water.
3. Safety Support boat operations, since many events run with only a few powerboats on the water, all powerboat operators working on a race course should be prepared to render aid if needed as a safety boat.
Prinski said that they spend as much time on the water as possible. On-the-water training includes man- overboard recovery, aiding a capsized small boat, as well as other recovery techniques for helping a competitor in need of assistance.
“This course is a step in the direction of combining our efforts to provide a one stop shop to producing skilled race officials,” Prinski said.
Powerboating skills are valuable when building sailors’ confidence, especially parents and volunteers with minimal experience. The combination of classroom and on the water training is vital to the success of those who participate.
“Hopefully this will inspire other combined courses, where interested clubs can take a weekend and have their new or potential PROs, safety boat operators, and mark set crews come for a one stop course covering the basics of what is needed to run races at a high level of proficiency,” Prinski said.
Learn more about the Safety, Rescue and Mark-Set Boat Handling course.