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Times of the Islands Magazine

Nurturing a Love for Boating: Local Courses Teach Safety on the Water

Apr 03, 2022 10:23AM ● By ANN MARIE O’PHELAN
Children love to go boating. One great way to build their understanding of safe boating practices and procedures is to give them lessons. Tarpon Bay Explorers, based on Tarpon Bay on Sanibel, offers lessons and tours for kayaking and standup paddleboarding (SUP) for youth of all ages. Tarpon Bay Explorers’ naturalists teach paddling basics to start; once mastered, the students move on to intermediate strokes, according to Wendy Schnapp, managing partner. The lessons also include information on safety equipment, paddling in the right boats and conditions, float plans, and the importance of checking the weather forecast. “March and April are gorgeous times to get on the water,” adds Schnapp.  

Reservations are encouraged for the guided tours, including kayaks and SUPs. The recommended age group is 5 and up for guided tours, focusing on an introduction to kayaking.  

Fort Myers-based Offshore Sailing School offers family sailing packages at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva and Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina on Fort Myers Beach. These include the Tweens & Teens Learn Free package, where up to three children ages 7-17 learn for free with two adults. This three-day course is part of a five-night resort vacation package. 


Ann Marie O’Phelan is a Southwest Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media. 



Offshore Sailing School 

16731 McGregor Blvd. Suite 110, Fort Myers 

888-454-7015, 239-454-1700; 

Tarpon Bay Explorers  

900 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel 


Florida Boater Safety Course 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission requires that boaters 21 and younger operating a personal watercraft or powerboat of 10 horsepower or more pass an approved boater education course, offered online. Boaters of all ages are encouraged to obtain the boater education card. Find out more at