Boaters University has just announced its latest course that is sure to be a hit with the PassageMaker crowd. The new course, Safety & Rescue at Sea, is taught by Mario Vittone, whose name you might recognize from the pages of our sister publication, Soundings Magazine and his Lifelines blog.
Mario Vittone is a retired U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer, whose career choice led him to become a national expert on immersion hypothermia, drowning, sea survival, and safety at sea. During his career he was awarded the "Distinguished Flying Cross" for extraordinary heroism, was named as the Coast Guard's "Enlisted Person of the Year" and he also received the Alex Haley Award for Journalism. Vittone, who retired in 2013 after four years as a vessel inspector and accident investigator, now lives and works in Apollo Beach, Florida.
(The appearance of Department of Defense (DoD) visual information in the video below does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.)
While Mario spent his life responding to and assessing boating emergencies, this course is designed to teach you what you need to know so that no one has to respond to your emergency, and if they do, how you can increase your chances of survival. He is assisted in this class by retired Warrant Officer Michael Carr, whose career included diving for the Coast Guard, piloting vessels for the Army, and serving in the merchant marine.
Mario and Michael provide valuable insights about preparation and evaluating risk on the water. The goal of “Safety and Rescue at Sea” is to prepare captains to be as safe as possible when heading offshore. To be sure, there are plenty of specific tips, but the real value of the course is the philosophy of safety and risk that it imparts. Vittone doesn’t just teach what to think about safety but how to think about it and how to parse risk. This is a course for novices and experienced skippers alike.