There has been a major increase in boat sales within the past 10 months in Southwest Florida. With more people out on the water, it’s important to remind residents about boating safety and where they can get licensed in Naples.
George Kartsimas is the district staff officer of public education at the Coast Guard Auxiliary. He’s been working for the Coast Guard for the past 25 years. In his career, Kartsimas has served as a search-and-rescue pilot and in helicopter ops. But he says his most important job is what he does now at the Flotilla 93 station in Naples—teach recreational boating safety to residents.
“An educated boater is a safe boater,” says Kartsimas. “The first thing law enforcement is going to ask you is whether you have a Florida Boaters ID card, and if you say ‘yes,’ they’re going to smile because they know they’re speaking to an educated boater that took a Coast Guard class. If you say ‘no,’ they’re going to wonder why you haven’t taken the course.”
Southwest Florida boating laws require boaters to have a Florida Boating Safety ID card, which can be earned through Kartsimas’ Basic Boating Safety and Seamanship course or an equivalent. In the class, students learn navigation, basic weather, Florida boating laws, GPS, and local tips. “In boating, there are laws and everyone needs to know what the rules of the road, or the sea, are,” he says. Soon, his boating classes will also be available online.