Free boating safety classes in wake of tragedy - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Free boating safety classes in wake of tragedy

picture by STIG NYGAARD picture by STIG NYGAARD

STUART, Fla. - Hank Cushard has an ideal vantage point to see beautiful boats, and boating mishaps.

“Mostly boaters who don’t understand who has the right of way," said Cushard.

Cushard is part of the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla Station 59 at Sandsprit Park in Martin County.  While there are radios at the ready, and they do take part in some search and rescue efforts, it’s main mission is recreational boating safety.

“85% of recreational boating fatalities that happen on the water are due to lack of informal training," said Cushard.

Under State law, all boaters in Florida born after January 1st, 1988 must complete a boater education course and have a safe boating card.

Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 59 will be holding free boating safety classes at Sandsprit Park throughout the spring and summer funded by a newly created foundation, set up after another recent boating tragedy.

“The Perry Cohen Foundation, the stepfather and mother of Perry Cohen have been gracious enough to pay for these classes for anybody," said Cushard.

Cohen, and his friend Austin Stephanos vanished last July.  They were last seen taking a boat out of the Jupiter Inlet.

This Saturday’s class has already filled up, but daylong classes are set for May, June and July.

For more information, you can call 772-288-0509.

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