Wednesday morning, roughly a dozen women got tips on how to have more confidence while boating at MarineMax's Women on Water class. The free class, which is held quarterly at the Sarasota boat dealership, is taught by U.S. Coast Guard captains who are also certified to teach. The small-group classes are designed to create a comfortable atmosphere for women and focus specifically on powerboats. The class is split into two sections, starting in a classroom and then moving onto the water. Participants can expect to learn boat terminology, how to handle lines and tie knots, docking, rules of the water and safety tips.

Participants learn boat terminology and design during Women on Water

Event coordinator Kelly Paige says the class started with the goal of helping more women feel comfortable driving boats alone without a male counterpart. Women on Water classes take place at all 19 MarineMax locations throughout the U.S. Paige says the classes make learning about boating less intimidating. "Women don't want to feel helpless," Paige says. "Boating is for everyone, not just husbands, and not just captains."

A recent Women on Water class

The class has snowballed since Paige started coordinating it two years ago. "We only have room for 10 to 12 women because we want everyone to get hands-on experience and close instruction, but I have over 30 women calling me each time trying to sign up for classes," Paige says. "We've had to introduce a waiting list!"

Education is a cornerstone of MarineMax. When you purchase a boat from the marina, you also gain access to unlimited lessons on your boat with a captain who is familiar with your specific model.

MarineMax is located at 1601 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota. The next Women on Water class will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The classes are very popular and fill up quickly. You can register by going to the MarineMax website, or by calling (941) 388-4411.

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