Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Letter To The Editor From Robert Zingale

February 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

To quote a line from the movie Jerry McGuire, “You had me at hello.” This pretty much sums up our boating life for the past year and our involvement with the United States Power Squadrons®.

My wife, Cristina, and I moved back to New York in 2009 and suffered through the first summer without a boat.  In July 2010, we became the proud owners of a 2008 Chaparral 255 SSI.   After spending the first month getting reacquainted with boat handling, we attended the TOBAY Boat Show, where we found out how much we were leaving on the table in terms of enjoying our time on the water.

We visited the United States Power Squadrons® booth and had a brief conversation with the squadron members present. Upon returning home and doing some research, we decided to join USPS® as “cyber members,” but within a day, four local squadrons invited us to join their particular squadron, and we attended a rendezvous planned by the Jones Beach Squadron in Davis Park.  As one of nine boats attending, we felt welcome from the moment we docked, and by the end of the weekend, we were cyber members no more!

Joining the USPS® brought an entirely different perspective to our boating.  We now are part of a group of like-minded people that enjoy the water and having fun.  These people know how to do it right! Every rendezvous, raft-up, or non-boating season party has been a BLAST!  Food, drink, and laughs are always nearby. While we chose Jones Beach as our home squadron mostly based on proximity to where we do the majority of our boating, all 18 Long Island (District 3) squadrons are part of one large organization and constantly share events with members of the other squadrons in the area.  Joining any squadron allowed us to participate in classes and events held by  any of the other squadrons in the area.

The classes taught are well worth the time invested. In the year that we have been members, I have taken four courses (Seamanship, Marine Electrical Systems, Marine Electronics and Instructor Development) and attended six seminars (Anchoring, Using VHF, Using GPS, On-Board Weather Forecasting, Powerboat Handling and Using Fire Extinguishers), yet I’ve just scratched the surface of what the USPS® has to offer in its education series.

A business mentor once told me, “You don’t know what you don’t know until you learn it.”  That’s spot on for pleasure boaters as well, which is why I’m writing to remind everyone about the importance of taking a safe boating class.  As a past boat owner, I had taken the Coast Guard boating course, so I had a basic understanding of rules. However, as in the rest of life, things change on the water, so refresher or advanced grade courses will keep you current.  I believe continuing education should be part of every boater’s yearly commissioning checklist.

Another benefit of being with this group is the amount of experience at hand, as some members have more than 50 years at the helm (if a situation is out there, it has probably happened to one of the members). It is amazing what you will learn by just hanging out with true boaters.  At the Davis Park rendezvous, I had a small rattle in my engine, and after mentioning it to one of the members, five helped me to cure the problem.  In addition to a second set of eyes and a casual look over, each squadron has certified vessel safety examiners that will review your boat and verify that you have all the required equipment for your type of boating.

While I know you have had members write articles about the USPS® before, I wanted to add my experience.  Since joining the Jones Beach Power Squadron, on a scale of one to ten, our boating rates at eleven!

Sincerely,

Robert F. Zingale

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