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LWSA students receive a lesson in safety from Marine Patrol

Students of the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association at Marine Patrol Headquarters with Officer Seth Alie (back) and RJ Darabant, LWSA head sailing instrucor (back right), and Jillian Egan, LWSA sailing school director (front right). (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
September 05, 2012
Students of the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association (LWSA) sailing school visited Marine Patrol headquarters in Glendale Tuesday, Aug. 14 for a boater safety lesson to help students stay safe on the water.

Students attending were part of the new advanced level, non-racing class offered this year.

Head instructor R.J. Darabant said he established the new class for non-competitive students who preferred a relaxing sail around the lake, instead of testing their skills in a regatta.

Students met with Marine Patrol Officer Seth Alie, who began with a lesson on personal flotation devices (PFD's), more commonly known as life jackets.

"Life jackets save lives," said Alie. "Wear them all the time. We always have them on."

Alie described each type of PFD, and stressed proper fit to assure maximum effectiveness. He displayed four types of PFD's; type one and two, he said, would help roll a person onto their back so their head would be out of the water — type one being the more effective of the pair, and suited for off shore and rough ocean conditions.

The more common type three,"sport" PFD, Alie said, was more suited for lake use.

Each student checked their PFD's, which they arrived in, and found they all had type three PFD's.

Alie showed a type four PFD, or throw cushion, which he said was not meant to be worn, but tossed to anyone in distress. With Darabant's help, Alie demonstrated how one of the Marine Patrol CO-2 PFD's can be inflated with one pull from a cord. Alie also said their PFD's could be manually inflated with a separate tube. According to Alie, any boat underway had to have at least one properly fitting PFD for each passenger, and a type four PFD.

Aile showed other safety and signal devices, including lights, air horns and fire extinguishers, most typically required on any boat.

Students had a quick lesson on how to read buoys and markers and a refresher course on knot-tying.

After the classroom session, Alie led students through the headquarters and out to the docks to check out some of the Marine Patrol vessels and tools they use to patrol the Lakes Region.

The students, some of whom said they have spent summers sailing for six years, all agreed that "sailing is awesome." They were excited for the opportunity to learn how to plan a day of sailing, and be in control of their own vessel.

Darabant, who attended the LWSA program as a student when he was younger, said he thought the new non-competitive course would help teach students everything they need to know to be in-charge of a vessel and plan a complete sailing trip. Darabant said the course included lessons on safety and navigation and students seemed to be enjoying the added responsibilities.

"They are a little older, and don't require constant supervision," said Darabant, adding that these students were responsible and skilled enough to sail by themselves. "We give them a radio, and let them call the shots."

Alie said the Marine Patrol has made it their mission to promote safety and raise awareness and understanding of boating laws.

"We aim to interact, educate and promote safe boating," said Alie.

LWSA Director Anthony Sperazzo said they have seen a lot of success with their summer program and, for the second year, posted a record high attendance with about 235 students.

Sperazzo contributed the program's success to the LWSA staff.

"We've had a lot of success with the program, and that is because of

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