Safe boating program for middle school students returns this spring

Students in the safe boating program learn to canoe at Wendy Park.

Bay Village Schools and the Spirit of America Foundation will provide a hands-on boating safety education program this summer for sixth- through eighth-grade students. The nationally recognized program, known as Spirit of America (SOA), provides students both classroom and on-the-water sessions to teach safe boating skills.

Participants will take the Ohio Boating Education Course on two Saturdays in May. This meets the Ohio law that requires "any person born on or after Jan. 1, 1982, to show proof they have completed an approved boating course if they are operating a power boat over 10 horsepower." This OBEC class is mandatory and students must attend both days and pass an exam. Boy Scouts can earn their small boat sailing, canoeing, kayaking and motor boating merit badges by completing the course and some additional requirements.

The on-the-water sessions involve a pool session to help students understand the importance of wearing life jackets and to learn how to upright overturned sailboats, kayaks and canoes in a safe environment. The remainder of the on-the water sessions will be held at Whiskey Island Marina where students will be receive hands-on instruction in power boats, canoes, kayaks, sailboats, personal watercraft, paddleboards and a large boat experience.

The Bay Village Schools have been associated with the program for 18 years and are the fiscal organization for the program. The program is open to registered students who live in Cuyahoga County. Registration will be held in March and April and the classroom sessions are from 9 4 p.m. on Saturdays, May 6 and May 13. The on-the-water sessions at Whiskey Island Marina will be held from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on June 12, 19 and 26. There is a $20 registration fee. Brochures are available at libraries, local schools and on the Bay Middle School web page. For additional information or questions, visit or email

George Christ

I am coordinator of the West Cuyahoga Spirit of America Safe Boating Program. The program provides free boating education to 6th- 8th grade students. It is sponsored by the Bay Village Schools and The Spirit of America Foundation. A grant from ODNR -Watercraft helps fund the program. This is the 17th year this program has been in operation.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 10:21 AM, 03.21.2017