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So, what have you been doing lately? All that time you’ve been saving by not going to the beach or dining in restaurants has been put to good use, right? You perfected your cast weeks ago, learned how to tie flies (you always said you were going to, as soon as you had the time), and your reading list is all caught up.

Now, before you resort to something drastic, like binge-watching The Sopranos or taking a look at the honey-do list, how about doing something to improve your boating skills? After being out there on the water with a lot of y’all, I think this might be just the ticket. I’m getting tired of having to send up prayers to St. Brendan (patron saint of boatmen, divers, mariners and sailors) and the Flying Spaghetti Monster every time I see another vessel that might cross my path.

To help you out with that, America’s Boating Club, part of the United States Power Squadrons, has some online offerings. Start with their free how-to videos on YouTube. America’s Boating Channel has a bunch of stuff. A lot of it covers the basics (a great refresher; just sayin’), and there are also videos that deal with more complex issues — almost 100 of them altogether. Start looking through them at

If you need more in-depth information, there are 10 interactive online seminars that will provide exactly that. Now, these aren’t free, but they’re not real spendy either at 30 bucks a pop. Choose from courses dealing with weather, using GPS, marine radio, hurricane preparation, AIS electronics, propane systems, cruise planning and more.

Each of the seminars is about two hours long and provides a huge amount of useful information that you’ll reference time and again. Go to 3522lSp to see for yourself. If you’re not sure whether a seminar is right for you, you can preview them for free.

If you’re new to boating, you should get started with a basic boating safety course before you do anything else, including take the helm. You can do that online as well (for $35) at

Actually, I recommend this course to boaters of any experience level. I’ve had people tell me they’ve been boating their whole lives but learned something new when accompanying a new boater to one of these courses in person. I’ll bet the same is true online.

While these boating courses will be offered again in person, it might not be for a while. Classes always slow down over the summer when our snowbirds are up north, so you might have to wait until fall. Or, you could take them online now — in a safe and socially distant way — and start becoming a better boater right now, today. It just kinda makes sense to me. And, bonus, it’s a great excuse to avoid reorganizing the garage.

Contact Capt. Josh Olive at 941-276-9657 or

Contact Capt. Josh Olive at 941-276-9657 or Publisher@


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