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Old 08-23-2011
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whmcnair is on a distinguished road
New Guy Looking for Guidance

I'm a 45 year old, land-locked guy from Greenville, SC, who really wants to return to sailing. I grew up sailing on lakes in the Carolina's, racing everything from Y-flyers to J24s and such, but stopped when I went off to college. Now I would like to learn to sail well enough to take my family of 5 on bareboat charter adventures up and down the east coast, but don't know where to start exactly. I have found an ASA school in Charleston, SC, and they offer a wide variety of courses, but I haven't a clue as to what is actually required by law, by charter companies, or simply to be safe. Ultimately, I would like to own my own boat, but that would be several adventures down the road. Advice, anyone?
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Old 08-23-2011
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Welcome, New Guy, to sailing.

Taking ASA 101 is a great first step. Also take either the US Power and Sail Squadron or USCG Auxiliary boating safety course for more detailed instruction in the rules of the road and Federal regulations. Two of those will set you on your course to safety.

As for chartering, I just booked my first bareboat charter in the BVI and their bar is alarmingly low for who they allow to skipper a boat.

I think your primary goal should be to keep you and your family safe on the water. The experience needed to charter a boat will naturally follow.

As for what is legally required? Unfortunately almost nothing in most states. As far as I know, only two states require boaters to have some kind of safety course regardless of age. The rest grandfather you in if you're born after a certain date (that date depends on the state). However, both the USPS and USCG courses should also include the state requirements in the tests and you'll be good to go. The state certs do not expire.

Keep in mind, however, whether you take a class or not, you are still responsible for knowing the rules of the road.

Read, ask questions, poke around Sailnet, ask more questions and be safe.
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