Traveling Coast Guard Auxiliary C-School Spreads Safe Boating Message To The Northland And Nation

By KBJR News 1

May 20, 2012 Updated May 21, 2012 at 12:03 AM CDT

Hermantown, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)
Last week, Northland school kids went on the annual Riverquest environmental knowledge tour of the Saint Louis River.
They and the U.S. Power Squadron helped mark the start of National Safe Boating Week by learning about life jackets.

"Ready, set, wear it!" said the kids aboard a Vista tour boat.

Thanks to the leg work of Duluth Coast Guard Auxiliarist Ben Harstad, country singer Hank Williams Junior is also helping to spread the safe boating word.

"The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary wants to remind you to wear your Coast Guard approved life jacket when you are on the water." said Williams.

Coast Guard Auxiliarists from as far away as Hawaii came to Hermantown and Duluth this week to learn more about protecting boaters at what's called a C–School.

"Coast Guard C–Schools are schools where members are brought in from around the country and given the opportunity to learn a new skill." said Auxiliarist and instructor Ken Jacobs.

The skill taught at this school was the art of creating effective safe boating information websites.

"The internet is very essential for spreading the word." said instructor Karen Rochon from Michigan.

Just as every Auxiliarist here comes from a different town, each starts the course differently.

"People come here with all levels of knowledge." said instructor Dennis Wood of Oregon.

After several ten hour days of drills, each person ended the course ready to make a new safety website just in time for Safe Boating Week.
Wayne Hempeck from Minnesota wants to stress knowing the weather as well as pushing the word about life jackets.

"Look at the weather and the water and make sure the water temperature is survivable and that you have a rescue apparatus that will assist you during that survivability range." said Hempeck.

By noon Sunday, the now computer and boat safety savvy AUX Coasties were on their way back to their homes to promote National Safe Boating Week.
The man from Hawaii says everyone on Maui is friendly so a week's worth of Minnesota nice felt just like home.

"Coming to Duluth, I've found exactly the same kind of friendly folks." said Larry Ankrum.

In Hermantown, Dave Anderson, the Northland's NewsCenter.

National Safe Boating Week started Saturday and lasts until Friday.
Safe Boating organizations like the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadron hope boaters will turn safe boating week into safe boating year.