Florida Sailing and Cruising School


NORTH FORT MYERS, Florida -In 16 years of training people how to handle expensive sailing and poweryachts, and awarding hundreds of diplomas to people from all over the world, Vic and Barb Hansen have seen competitive boating schools appear then disappear.

Why did Florida Sailing and Cruising School emerge as the leader when other U.S. boating schools did not? Vic Hansen says it in two short sentences. "Safety isn't boring. Safety isn't mean."

Indeed, safety is the bottom line watchword at FS&CS. After all, the Hansens and their instructors, Coast Guard-licensed captains, are dealing with unpredictable Mother Nature, vessels worth millions of dollars, and priceless lives. More importantly, students who leave with a FS&CS diploma also will assume those heavy responsibilities when they cruise and sail on their own.

But teaching safety, says Vic, shouldn't mean stern faces or raised voices. "We believe that people learn and remember when they are having fun, and we believe they learn with their hands, hearts and their heads," said Vic. "This is the philosophy upon which we design all courses."

They're called Seamanship courses in the FS&CS brochure, Passport to Seamanship -- 13 sailing courses and 12 power courses. Except for a couple of courses, the fee includes staying aboard the vessel. Students can even bring a child or a parent. The live-aboard fee for an extra person is just half of the course fee. "Check-in" is the day before the course begins. Barb and Vic will even schedule courses to suit vacation schedules. It is this kind of customer-driven flexibility that drives the success of Florida Sailing and Cruising School.

Courses in powerboat safety, handling and cruising are held at company headquarters at Marinatown Marina on the Caloosahatchee across the river from the city of Fort Myers. The "classrooms" are single and twin-engine cruising boats from 32 to 42 feet long.

Sailing courses are held at the sailing fleet headquarters -- Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda where the boats are in the water and ready to sail.

Barb and Vic Hansen learned long ago that their students are motivated to go to boating school by any number of reasons.

Many students are repeat customers who understand that education is never complete. "With boating, just like any subject, there's always more to learn," said Barb. Like virtue, education is its own reward. "There is immense satisfaction in learning to do things the right way," she says.

Some have modest or no boating experience at all, but want to "see if they like it." Many are retired couples and finally, in retirement, have time to do what they have always wanted to do. Boats, almost by definition, mean shared experiences.

Others are thinking about buying a boat and want to learn how to handle it. Some are getting a larger boat and need to upgrade skills. Some just want to charter a boat without a captain. Passing courses at Florida Sailing and Cruising School qualifies them for bareboat chartering through Southwest Florida Yachts, Inc., an FS & CS sister company.

And some just want to combine learning and adventure. FS & CS offers an intensive, 12-day course that advances the student from the basic sailing course through the advanced cruising course.



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Florida Sailing & Cruising School
3444 Marinatown Lane N.W. • North Fort Myers • Florida 33903
(239) 656-1339 (800) 262-7939 Fax (239) 656-2628

Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W

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