Utah’s Boating Law, 73-18-15.2, requires all youth, between the ages of 12-17, to complete and pass a Division approved boating safety course before they may operate a PWC on waters in Utah. Utah State Parks and Recreation uses volunteers to teach Utah’s Personal Watercraft Education Course. Gordan Visser has played a significant role in teaching Utah’s PWC Education Course.
He has been an instructor since 1996, and frequently finds time to teach a class on a weekly class. He has been directly involved with teaching over 2,700 of the youth who have completed Utah’s PWC Education Course. In fact, Visser has volunteered over 1000 hours to Utah’s Boating Program and teaching boating and PWC safety for Utah State Parks and Recreation.
In one of his many classes, Visser found himself engulfed in a myriad of frustrating problems and thought about discontinuing his volunteer service. After pondering the ramifications of such a decision, he concluded that if just one person’s life could be saved through his efforts, it was well worth continuing teaching the classes. From this, he has made a statement where he says: “I will not teach a class with less than one student.” Since the inception of Utah’s PWC Education Program in 1995, PWC accidents have decreased over 51 %. They feel Visser’s involvement in teaching Utah’s PWC Education Course has had a significant impact on this outcome.
When Visser retired from Questar in October of 200l, he began to volunteer more of his time in the Division’s Boating Program. He has learned how to operate and master the Captain B. Safe robot boat for boating safety. His expertise with Captain B. Safe thrills children at many events. In addition to teaching a weekly PWC class, Visser assists in scheduling PWC classes and completing the necessary paperwork for each student. When a 6-month seasonal position became available in the Boating Program, Visser filled the position. However, he still volunteers to teach a weekly PWC classes and volunteers his time the remaining months of the year.
Visser is also a member of the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Auxiliary’s missions include: Teaching public education courses regarding safe boat handling, legal responsibilities, aids to navigation, rules of the road, piloting, etc; training for and assisting with search and rescue, environmental awareness issues, assisting with special marine events; and performing Vessel Safety Checks, where members of the auxiliary conduct free vessel safety examinations to ensure boats have the proper safety equipment and meet the requirements of both state and federal laws.
Visser’s efforts with regards to teaching and promoting boating safety and fulfilling the mission of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary has helped to keep Utah’s waters safer and more enjoyable for the boating public.