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  • Sarah Bouckoms

Boating Class

Skills. You are never too old to get more of them. Recently, I had to get the skills to drive a zodiac so I took the Start Powerboating Right class at In-Command in Rhode Island. It was an intense weekend split over two 8 hour days, with classroom portion and hands on. I can’t deny that the sitting in a classroom on a perfect late fall that acted like midsummer day was easy. It was terrible actually. However I can understand why it was necessary as there was so much information to convey. It did make the practical hands on portion much more helpful. There would have been so many more questions and lack of basic knowledge that I wouldn’t have known where to begin when actually out on the boat.

When time came, I really thrived on the outdoor portion. It was so much fun getting behind the wheel of the boat even if we were in the no wake zone of 5 Knots. The wind and current were at play, kayakers, sailboats, other powerboats, shag birds diving all around. There was plenty of stimulation you really had to keep on your toes to not miss something. When we got out into the open water we practiced rescue manures for a person in water, safe quick stops, rules of the ‘road’ and anchoring. Everything we had learned in the water became so much more real. It was critical to have the background knowledge before heading out on the water but I didn’t really learn it till I got to do it. The millionth example of how the hands on application made for sticky learning.

After day two, there was a test at the end. Ugh. I hate tests. So much. Sure there had to be an assessment to see if I had learned something, I also do get it. What I found most helpful was being able to go over the test after and review our different answers. We discussed the correct answer and got to understand why. One I got wrong because the wording was misleading. So frustrating but I forgave myself because I knew the material and that is what really mattered. It was nice that the class only required an 80% pass rate. I was well over that, so phew.

That means I’m qualified to drive a zodiac in Antarctica. WOW. Skills I never knew I would need but glad I was able to get. There will surely be a mentor program and further training before I’m fully able to take passengers out on my own. That is where there will be a deeper level of learning as I gain my knowledge from the conditions and those with more experience.

It was nice to be on the flip side, to be a student, to have to sit through lecture, to take a test. It gives me a good perspective to keep when I am on the teacher side.

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