This is our first day at this facility, and I hope to write more later, after we get a better feel for the place. But I just had to write about our experience with the boat rentals. One of the reasons we came here was the easy and relatvely inexpensive access to boat rental. For a year, my husband and I have looked forward to leisurley days out on the water hunting for lobsters and doing underwater photography. I was aware the cottages got first dibs on the boats, but I figured there would be some days available to us during our two-week stay. Right after checking in, I asked who we should talk to about renting a boat. I was immediately asked if I had sat through the 9.5 hour Coast Guard Class. No, I spent a couple of days doing the online Boat U.S. course which I was told was required--I had my card and a certificate. Well, the rules had "just" changed and now you needed to take a 9.5-hour course in a classroom, that was offered nowhere in the Keys. It's not the fault of the MWR folks here--they are frustrated that their boats are now sitting at the docks. Here is the real irony. My husband is a licensed boat captain able to pilot 100-ton vessels. His license is issued by the COAST GUARD, yet he is not allowed to rent a recreational boat here at the Marathon COAST GUARD station. He spent 96 hours in a classroom and a minimum of 500 days at sea to get this license. When I made our reservation, I was told this license could be used in lieu of the Boat U.S. course which I took. Carol Cox, CMSgt Retired, USAF
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