Family boating safety course offered next week

Kachemak Bay Campus is offering a family boating safety course June 26-28 with instructor Janel Harris.

Harris will be using the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association curriculum to teach the course, which is one of the association’s newer curriculum offerings.

AMSEA’s stated mission is to reduce injury and death in the marine and freshwater environment through education and training provided by a network of qualified marine safety instructors.

According to Harris, who is a marine safety instructor for AMSEA and maritime coordinator at the Kachemak Bay Campus, this course is specifically for families who might be new to boating and looking for ways to get comfortable bringing their children with them on the water. The class is open to youth age 10 and older, in addition to parents.

Topics in the course may include float plans, boating trip risk assessment, reading weather and navigational charts, handling outboard engine malfunction, retrieving a person who falls overboard, various types of personal flotation devices, cold water survival skills, use of a VHF radio, making a mayday call and docking techniques.

One of the issues families may come across is finding and fitting flotation devices, Harris said.

Harris said it can be challenging to find a vendor that still manufactures immersion suits for children and infants.

“I have seen them, but it is difficult to find them for sale,” she said.

In her campus role, Harris works with both commercial and recreational boaters to provide additional community courses with AMSEA curriculum such as Women at the Helm and Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor. She is currently in the process re-certifying courses that will be open for the fall. Certification means the courses meet the U.S. Coast Guard standards.

Harris received her AMSEA certification on the primary Sitka-based campus in 2017. Courses on the Kenai Peninsula are also offered at AVTECH in Seward. AMSEA works primarily with commercial drill conductor courses but Harris’ specialty is in recreational boating.

Registration for the course is available online at or in the office at the college.