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Captain’s course offers route to obtain license

Published 6:59pm Friday, January 3, 2014

A captain’s course will be held next month at Children’s Harbor for anyone interested in obtaining a captain’s boating license. This year’s course will mirror the one offered at River North Marina in 2012 with one exception, said Jackson Dozier of TowBoatUS, which is hosting the class.

“This year, we also are offering a towing endorsement. That is a four-hour class followed by a one-hour test, and that will be on Monday the 17th,” Dozier explained. “Some who took the last course were interested in being able to tow, but their hours have to be limited if they don’t have the towing endorsement. This will just offer them a little bit more opportunity.”

The U.S. Coast Guard-approved and regulated Sea School will conduct the captain’s course from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, through Sunday, Feb. 16, and Friday, Feb. 21, through Sunday, Feb. 22. The test for a captain’s license to operate an uninspected passenger vehicle (OUPV) will be offered Monday, Feb. 23.

Cost for the course is $550, and the OUPV testing fee is $105. In addition, class materials required will cost about $50. The cost of the towing endorsement class and test is $90, Dozier said. A $50 deposit for the courses will be due at the time of registration, and the balance is payable on the first day of class.

A one-hour lunch break will be taken each day, Dozier said, and participants will have several options for the noon meal.

“There are a number of restaurants in the area, or they can bring their lunch. The Children’s Harbor facility does have a full kitchen, so they can heat up a meal in the microwave if they bring something,” he said.

To register, call the Sea School at 800-237-8663.

Additional requirements for an operator’s license include a physical examination, drug test, CPR class and TWIC card. Upon completion of the course, students can submit their passing test, along with evidence of meeting the additional requirements, to the USCG to receive what is commonly referred to as the “Six Pack” license.

While the 2012 course was held at River North Marina, Dozier said the location was changed this year to accommodate more students. The River North class was limited to 10 participants and filled quickly, but another seven participants can be admitted with the location change.

“The classroom has to be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. There has to be a certain square footage amount per student,” Dozier explained. “The course will be held at the Harbor House at Children’s Harbor this year, thanks to their generous donation of space. The space is limited to the first 17 people to sign up. It filled to capacity (in 2012) and with the interest we already have received, we’re expecting another full class this year.”

All fees are payable to Sea School, Dozier said, and TowBoatUS does not receive any part of the funds.

“It’s a service to the lake community,” Dozier said. “One of the main reasons we are hosting this course is that it gives us a small pool of people to help us out when we need it.”

TowBoatUS offers boat towing services and insurance on Lake Martin, operating 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

“We now operate two towboats on the lake. One boat pretty much covers us in winter, but in summer the one boat keeps very, very busy. A second boat on the summer weekends is very busy, too, and we’re expecting that to increase as we gain new members. We’re looking for a few people to come fill in for us,” Dozier said.

For questions or more information about the course, call Dozier at 256-307-1313.

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