Weather, First Aid and Safety at Sea Are the Topics

Boaters University, an online institution of nautical learning, has signed three new instructors for 2018. Chris Parker, Thomas Bliss and Mario Vittone will teach courses, respectively, in weather, first aid and safety at sea.

The AIM Marine Group, publisher of marine magazines, founded Boaters University in June 2017 as a logical adjunct to its core mission of informing the boating public. So far BU has launched three courses: “Marine Diesel Maintenance & Troubleshooting,” “Fundamental of Seamanship: Rules of the Road” and “Boat Handling.”

Chris Parker is a remarkable story. He began forecasting the daily weather in third grade, had his own radio weather show in high school and studied Meteorology at Lyndon State College in Vermont. However, Parker’s real education happened during his years of sailing the Bahamas in an era when there was little in the way of communications there. Now, as proprietor of the Marine Weather Center with its HQ in Lakeland, Florida, Parker provides forecast services for hundreds of mariners plying the waters of the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea and teaches weather at the AIM Marine Group’s TrawlerFest events.

Capt. Thomas Bliss, a self-described “safety nerd,” is founder and director of Northwest Response, a lay-responder medical training enterprise. Professional mariners subscribe to his services to keep their licenses up to date. He once taught cold water survival to seismic ship-board exploration crews 270 miles north of the Arctic circle. A coxswain in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Bliss was Awarded the Meritorious Service Award in 2010 by Coast Guard commandant, Admiral Thad W. Allen. He lives in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Mario Vittone is a made-for-Hollywood American hero. He is a retired U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer, whose career choice lead him to become a national expert on immersion hypothermia, drowning, sea survival, and safety at sea. His writing has appeared in Yachting, SaltWater Sportsman, MotorBoating and Reader’s Digest. Vittone is a regular contributor to Soundings magazine. In 2007, he was named as the Coast Guard Active Duty Enlisted Person of the Year and was named as the 2009 recipient of the Alex Haley Award for Journalism. Vittone lives in Apollo Beach, Florida.

“With Vittone, Parker and Bliss on board, BU is going to raise boater education in the United States and Canada to a new level,” said AIM Marine Group Vice President Gary De Sanctis. “We believe the courses taught by these men will make being on the water less stressful and may well save lives.”

According to Peter Swanson, AIM Marine Group director of education, planning is also underway for courses on chartering a boat and and how to buy a boat, among others.

The AIM Marine Group publishes Anglers Journal, PassageMaker, Power & Motoryacht, SAIL, Soundings, Soundings Trade Only and Yachts International. It also produces TrawlerFest, a division of PassageMaker, and Anglers Journal TV.

For more information or to sign up for a class, visit