Saturday, October 21 , 2017, 11:22 am | Fair 67º


David Bacon

Captain’s Log: Boatloads of Fun and Boating Safety Education Abound at Santa Barbara Sailing Center

Children as young as 6 years old can get out on the water and learn the basics of both boating safety and sailing. Click to view larger
Children as young as 6 years old can get out on the water and learn the basics of both boating safety and sailing. (Santa Barbara Sailing Center photo)

I’ve written repeatedly about the need for safety training and boat-handling education, which includes essential elements of rules of the road, lights/shapes, piloting/navigation and others. I believe that a certificate of education and training should be a minimum requirement for operating a boat.

Right here in Santa Barbara harbor we have a world-class boating education school that I would like to see people sign up with. The school is owned and run by Capt. Skip Abed, owner of Santa Barbara Sailing Center.

In my opinion, Capt. Skip is one of the best professionals on the waterfront. His moral compass on true north in my opinion.

He’s a great businessman, a giving member of the community, and he genuinely cares about boaters and boats. Like me, he believes in the value of boating safety education, and I’m confident that his classes have kept people safe on the water.

The school at Santa Barbara Sailing Center teaches all levels of boating safety starting students at age 6. Certification courses are taught through the American Sailing Association, which takes all of their base knowledge from the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons.

When adding sailing theory, staff uses their local knowledge and applies it to their teaching along the coast of Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands.  

One thing the school does that the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Power Squadron do not do is teach all of this aboard an actual boat, so the hands on teaching method really helps the students know how the boat responds. Gaining a feel for a boat’s handling characteristics can really keep people out of harms way.

“I am very proud of having received Sailing School of the Year two years in a row from the American Sailing Association. Out of my thirty instructors, several have received Instructor of the Year from the ASA," Capt. Skip said. "I am one of the largest sailing schools in the country and on one of the most challenging sailing grounds in the world. I have taught the blind to sail along with getting people out on the water with other physical disabilities. Instruction is a third of my business revenue and we are launching an online boating course in the upcoming year.”

Capt. Skip and I share the same passion for getting people out on the water and teaching them to be safe out there as they enjoy themselves and learn about the sea and her critters.

I heartily recommend and endorse the school at Santa Barbara Sailing Center.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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