VALLEJO — A few fresh faces tested the local waters Saturday, courtesy of California Maritime Academy.
Eighth-grade physical science teacher Gigi Lee invited students from Green Valley Middle School to explore watercraft in a free program offered at the California State University campus. The Boating Bay Blast gives youths a chance to try sailing, power-boating and kayaking and tour the Golden Bear training ship with some student volunteers.
Green Valley eighth-grader Michaela Redson brought her family along for the ride. The group split up for a trip across the Carquinez Strait in a pair of power boats that included a rigid-hulled inflatable boat – or RHIB.
Michaela’s brother Josh, a junior at Rodriguez High School, helped pilot a 22-foot power-boat across the waterway.
“It was fun because I got to do whatever I wanted,” said Josh, who’s had some experience driving a boat that his parents used to own.
“I kind of knew how to handle the boat,” he said.
Lee, whose son Vincent started the Benicia High School Sailing Club, said the Bay Blast is an opportunity for youths to learn about new careers and hobbies.
“It’s not easy for ordinary citizens to try these things and know if they like it,” said Lee. “It’s definitely better than drugs and gangs.”
Charlie Arms, Director of Sailing, said the free boating program, funded by the Department of Boating and Waterways, targets high school and middle school students.
“Some of these kids – some have done some boating, and there are some inner-city kids from the Bay Area who have never been on the water,” she said.
“It’s an eye-opener,” she said.
For more information about the program, call Arms at 654-1257 or email [email protected]
Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.