by Lori K. Tate JUNE 2018
photography courtesy of Lori K. Tate
LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS
grew up around boats. From a young age, I would sit on my dad’s lap, steering our Galaxy around Lake Tillery. When I was a little older, I would drive while he sat in the passenger seat. When I got married, I drove my husband’s boat while he sat in the passenger seat. This summer I want to take things a step farther. I want to be able to drive our kids and my girlfriends around on our boat without a chaperone, so to speak. (And I also want to be able to dock it without having to file an insurance claim.) In other words, I want to take the helm, but I want to do it safely. That said, I enrolled in the Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron’s (LNSPS) Boater Safety Education Class. I’ve wanted to do this for years, but the class takes up a whole Saturday and something always came up. This year I was determined, and I reasoned that one Saturday was a small
Editor Lori K. Tate takes the Power Squadron’s Boater Safety Education Class
sacrifice to make for the confidence and independence I would gain on the water. The LNSPS was established in 1977 and now has approximately 100 members. The group holds monthly meetings, offers a blessing of the fleet each year and also does community projects for the less fortunate, but the most important thing it does is educate boaters on what to do and what not to do on the water. I preregistered for the group’s May 12 class, which was held at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Cornelius. I expected a handful of people to be there and was happily surprised to find I was taking the class with 67 other students. Last year the LNSPS graduated more than 120 students and is recognized for being one of the top squadrons in the nation in service to its community. This year it is on track to reach 200 boaters. Class began at 8 a.m., as the curriculum is divided into four
Above, Editor Lori K. Tate learns to tie a marlinspike. Below, Russ Klein, education officer of the LNSPS, awards Tate her certificate and ID.
sections. Our first instructor, Jim Barbara, told us to clear our tables of everything but our notebooks because he was going to throw things into the audience. Sure enough about 20 minutes in, a Type III life jacket landed in front of me. (If you’re a boater who doesn’t know what this is, you need to take the class.) Barbara, along with all of the other instructors, was informative, yet entertaining. I didn’t doze off once and was engaged the whole time. After lunch, which is included in the registration fee, we delved into charts and maps, anchoring, adverse conditions and emergencies, as well as communications and water sports safety. At the end of the last session, it was test time. In order to receive a certificate and an ID stating that you took the class, you have to pass a 60-question exam. This is a good time to point out that I’m a terrible test taker and that I equate taking a multiple choice
test with getting a cavity filled. Nevertheless, I dove into the test. Some of the questions were easy, but many of them were tricky. I took my time and was one of the last people to turn in my answer sheet. Two thoughts went through my mind as I took the exam. One, if I don’t pass it, I need to find another Lori’s Larks for June — fast. Two, how will I face my father-in-law, Garren Tate, if I don’t pass the test? Did I mention he was one of the charter members of the LNSPS? No pressure at all. In the end, I did more than pass the exam, and I walked out of the class with a laminated photo ID stating that I did so. The next day, I went out on the pontoon with my husband, and I docked it perfectly — twice. I still need more practice, but I’m ready to get underway — safely. Lake Norman Sail & Power Squadron www.usps.org/lakenorman
The Magazine for the people of Lake Norman by the people of Lake Norman.