Being safe while enjoying your favorite outdoor activity just got more convenient.

Boat Virginia Boating Safety Course

Saturdays 8:30 am to 4:30pm, Free. A USCG Auxiliary certified instructor will lead the sessions, held at the Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad classroom in Hudgins, Mathews County. This course is free to the public but advanced signup is required due to facility size limitations. A minimum of 5 participants is needed to conduct the course; the classroom maximum is 15.

Each participant will be notified when they are confirmed for each session – if registration exceeds the maximum of 15 participants, additional sessions may be added to accommodate. This course meets the requirement for VA Boating Safety Certification. Upon completion of the course & exam the participant will receive their safety certification card.


Optional Courses & Seminars

The US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 66 offers a boating safety instruction & seminars – such as “Navigating the Chesapeake” – which was held on Saturday, February 25th.

The class was held at the Coast Guard Auxiliary training facility on Ball Park Road in Deltaville. This USCG Auxiliary Seminar intends to teach the traditional charting method of using a paper chart to plan cruises, to determine where you are, and to avoid problems.

The emphasis on using traditional tools on a paper chart should help create a physical image for each navigation task performed, and increase appreciation for the calculations and functions being performed by electronics. This knowledge will greatly assist the navigator if the electronic tools are not available on the vessel.

Students will be provided with copies of NOAA Chart 12225, which is named “Chesapeake Bay from Wolf Trap to Smith Point” for use in the classroom, along with a set of charting tools. Students may also purchase these items from West Marine or other sources, such as: or

Our overall goal with this seminar is to build navigating confidence so you may enjoy the Chesapeake Bay, or anywhere, and get home safely.  There is no final exam. There will be snacks and coffee provided, students should bring their own water and make their own arrangements for the one-hour lunch break at noon.

Registered students will be emailed a copy of the course material to review before the class. Class size is limited to 12 students.

Email USCG Auxiliary Training Coordinator, Mike Moore, for questions on this course or other class offerings:

Did You Know. All Personal Watercraft (PWC)* operators age 14 and older and all operators (regardless of age) of motorboats with a 10 hp or greater engine need to take a boating safety course. Once you complete the course, the course completion certificate or card is what is required to operate a vessel.
*PWCs include motorized crafts such as Jet Skis, Sea Doos & Wave Runners.

VA boating safety education compliance requirement

Have a courtesy Vessel Safety Check at your boat.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary has certified vessel examiners who will perform a free Vessel Safety Check (VSC) at your boat at a time of mutual convenience. There is no charge and no consequences if you don’t pass. The USCG Auxiliary goal is simply to help make boating as safe as possible for you, your family and your friends, through education. Personal pleasure craft only (non commercial craft).

Learn More & Schedule your VSC here

Suddenly In Command (SIC)

Saturday 9am-noon, $20. Imagine you’re a passenger on a boat and the captain becomes incapacitated or falls overboard. Or perhaps you’ve just become a new, first-time boat owner. You are Suddenly in Command. This boating safety primer is designed for those not generally at the helm, and will provide basic boat safety to help you be better prepared for an emergency. The cost for this course covers all materials.

You will learn about your vessel, nomenclature, and operating principles such as starting the engine, basic boat handling, and your onboard equipment. We’ll review common boating mishaps and how to minimize them. This course is a must for family members in case something happens to the boat operator. Each participant will receive a course completion certificate and boat safety whistle.

Your Instructor: Meet Mary. Mary McCoig is the lead instructor for Suddenly In Command; she will be supported by other members of USCG Aux Flotilla 66. Mary is a certified crew member on Coast Guard boats and owns several boats of her own. She started boating recently so can relate well to the core concerns of class participants who are less familiar with the ins-and-outs of boating.

Boating Skills & Seamanship (BS&S)

Weeknights 6pm – 9pm, 12 weeks, $40. The U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Boating Skills and Seamanship (BS&S) course is a comprehensive boater certificate course designed for both the experienced and novice boater. The course consists of eight core required two-hour lessons, plus five elective lessons providing up-to-date knowledge for handling boats under all conditions.

Cost covers course materials; classroom locations may vary (in Mathews County). Course Modules include:

  • Which Boat Is For You? – Types of boats, hull design, uses of boats, materials for construction, types of engines, and buying a boat.
  • Equipment For Your Boat – Requirements for your boat’s equipment, legal considerations, boating accidents, and substance abuse.
  • Trailering Your Boat – Choosing a towing vehicle and trailer, balancing the load, the right ball and hitch, launching and retrieving a boat.
  • Handling Your Boat – Fueling your boat, single vs. twin propellers, anchoring, trimming, leaving the dock, small boat safety, and weather.
  • Highway Signs – Buoyage system, ATONS, light characteristics, chart symbols.
  • Rules of the Road – Boating traffic, stand-on and give-way vessels, traffic separation, diver-down rules, anchoring, narrow channels, restricted visibility, small boat safety, and inland waters.
  • Introduction To Navigation – Piloting tools, charts, plotting, and compass.
  • Powering Your Boat – Types of engines, ignition systems, batteries, and troubleshooting.
  • Lines and Knots – Line or rope, materials, measuring, knots, bends, hitches, splicing, securing lines.
  • Weather and Boating – Wind and boating, waves, fog, sources of weather information.
  • Your Boat’s Radio – Functions of radios, selecting you VHF radio, channels, radio procedure, and types of radio calls.
Session 10
Session 20
Session 30
Session 40
Session 50
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