The summer boating season is almost here. That's when harbors are filled with hundreds of kids participating in sailing classesfrom first-time white-knuckled beginners to those hoping one day to bring home the America's Cup.
Keep in mind that most states have laws about mandatory wearing of lifejackets for children. California's boating laws requires anyone 11 years of age or younger must always wear an USCG-approved lifejacket when on a boat that is 26 feet long or less, unless the child is tethered to the boat or when in an enclosed cabin while the vessel is under way.
However, the most important trait that instructors should instill to their students is good seamanship skills and this includes courtesy on the waterways. Too often, you hear the beginner say that sailboats always have the right of way so "look out for me!" I have seen coaches instill in racers to barge their way across the congested waterways without signaling intentions to other boaters. This leads to bad vibes between the sailing and power boaters similar to snowskiers and snowboarders.