Before 1986, aspiring boaters in Quesnel needed to take correspondence courses to become certified.
All that changed after Frank Marshall set up the Quesnel Power and Sail Squadron (QPSS), which is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this year.
Now-commander Goerge Dagenais said the difference in boating technology over the past 25 years has been “tremendous.”
“The Quesnel Squadron has developed an online (course) and it is state of the art, first-class,” he said.
“It’s as good as you’ll find anywhere.”
The squadron offers courses on topics like basic safety, navigation, radio operation and even new GPS operation.
To operate a boat, residents need a pleasure craft operator card or restricted operators certificate, but Dagenais said courses offered by the QPSS go beyond, teaching navigation and safety skills that could be the difference out on the water.
“We just are there to have people have safe boating on the water,” he said, recalling a personal scary moment coming back from Vancouver Island.
“When we left, there was probably about two-foot chop, we got out about 15 miles, and we were in 40 feet of water… We did that for two-and-a-half hours, it was very unnerving. You can just get caught that quickly.”
Dagenais said not much is planned for the organization’s anniversary, due to COVID-19.
“We would normally be doing more in a 25th celebration, but we’re a little reserved at the moment,” he said.
For more information on the QPSS contact Dagenais at 250-747-1904, or the squadron’s training officer, Garry Miller at 250-992-3279.
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