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Joe Manchin III, Governor

Frank Jezioro, Director


News Release : May 18, 2006


Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 558-3381

Contact: Commander Maureen Burdette, Kanawha River Power Squadron

(304) 545-8541;

Sgt. David Trader, Law Enforcement Section (304) 558-759-0703


Kanawha River Power Squadron and DNR to Promote Safe Boating Week

May 20 at Haddad Riverfront Park, Charleston


  Kanawha River Power Squadron (KRPS), a unit of US Power Squadrons (USPS), America 's largest boating educational organization, and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) have announced the kickoff of Safe Boating Week by holding a nautical get together at Haddad Riverfront Park on Saturday, May 20th, 2006 . The boats, including DNR patrol boats, will parade on the Kanawha River from Haddad Park to the Capitol and back starting at approx 5:00 p.m.


  In celebration of Safe Boating Week (May 20th to May 26, 2006 ) and National Maritime Day ( May 20, 2006 ) Okey Harless, Chaplain of the KRPS, will conduct a ceremony known as Blessing of the Fleet. It will take place at 7:00 p.m. at Haddad Park after the parade. This is an old custom whereby fishermen asked God for his blessing of their harvest and protection from the seas. Although there are no commercial fishermen in this area, boaters still ask for safety on the water. After the ceremony a wreath will be placed in the river in remembrance of those who have died on the rivers and the oceans.


  Kanawha River Power Squadron was chartered in March, 2006, has 38 members, and offers a wide variety of public boating courses including Boat Smart, and a Skipper Saver course which is designed for the spouse of the captain of the vessel. "If the skipper is incapacitated in any way," said Cdr. Burdette, "his spouse should know how to bring the vessel home and how to use the marine radio to call for help. The Skipper Saver course will provide this information." In addition to public boating classes, Kanawha River Power Squadron offers a large variety of additional courses for its members, including Seamanship, Piloting, Advanced Piloting and Celestial Navigation 1 and 2. The voluntary USPS instructors also provide courses in Engine Maintenance, Marine Electronics, Cruise Planning, Sail and Weather.


  In addition to its courses, members of Kanawha River Power Squadron provide vessel safety inspections of recreational vessels, along with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the DNR, as part of a U.S. Coast Guard initiative. Those boats that pass the examination receive a decal. Those that do not pass are given a listing of items that should be corrected, such as insufficient life jackets, inoperative lights, etc.


  On Tuesday, 23rd May, KRPS, along with DNR, will be providing free boat inspections at the Saint Albans boat ramp from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The boats can be inspected while on the trailer, or in the water. KRPS will be available for free boat inspections on the Kanawha River and Summersville Lake through out the boating season. For more information, please contact Commander Maureen Burdette.


   National Maritime Day is being observed in Huntington at the Huntington Riverfront Park from May 20th to May 22nd. It is part of a national effort to recognize the importance of commercial navigation. KRPS is planning on having an information booth set up.


  US Power Squadrons is a voluntary organization of boaters and have more than 50,000 members throughout the nation, in Puerto Rico , the US Virgin Islands, and even in Tokyo , Japan .


  "National Safe Boating Week was created to make boaters more aware of safety on the water," Cdr. Burdette stated, "and we hope that everyone who goes boating will use the proper care and attention while they enjoy themselves"


  For more information on Kanawha River Power Squadron, Safe Boating Week, and vessel inspections call Commander Maureen Burdette at 304-545-8541.


  For more information on the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources' boating safety courses, call 304-558-2784 or visit .


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