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Boater Safety Training Expanded for Deaf Families

Syracuse, NY – By request from the Deaf community the American Sign Language (ASL)-facilitated boater safety training planned for Deaf youth at the February 10-14, 2010 CNY Boat Show in Syracuse, NY, has been expanded to any family with a Deaf member.

New York Sea Grant and the Boating Industry Association of Upstate New York are partnering with AURORA of CNY to offer the training.

“This expansion makes the first-ever American Sign Language-facilitated boater safety training a bilingual, bicultural opportunity for our Deaf community,” says Maggie Russell, director of AURORA of CNY’s Marjorie Clere Interpreter Referral Service.

Bilingual, bicultural is the terminology for opportunities that integrate hearing and Deaf/Hard of Hearing persons and bring together individuals who communicate through spoken English and ASL.

“We are excited to respond to calls from the Deaf community to open the boater safety training to Deaf families, including the children of Deaf adults (CODAs),” Russell says. “Each family interested in participating must have one Deaf member who will attend the classes that begin at the Central New York Boat Show next week and finish later in the month at our 518 James Street offices.”

New York Sea Grant will teach the course with ASL interpreters from AURORA of CNY signing the Deaf Boater Safety Certification instruction now expanded for a multiple-age group.

“New York Sea Grant is pleased to partner with Aurora, the Boating Industry Association of Upstate New York and the Central New York Boat Show to teach this training that will bring the hearing and non-hearing communities, family members and youth together and will enable all the participants to safely operate a boat on New York’s waters,” says class instructor and New York Sea Grant Recreation & Tourism Specialist Dave White.

Youth ages 10-17 must have a certificate to legally operate a boat alone in New York State waters.

The Deaf Boater Safety Certification course will be held in four 5:30-7:30pm sessions, starting Wednesday, February 10 and Friday, February 12 in the Horticulture Building Seminar Room at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. The series will conclude with Wednesday, February 24 and Friday, February 26 sessions at the AURORA offices at 518 James Street, Syracuse. Each registered individual will receive three free admission passes to the Central New York Boat Show.

Pre-registration for the limited free seating for the course is required. Register with AURORA of CNY by phone: 315-422-7263, videophone with Maggie Russell at 315-679-4170 or videophone with Director of Deaf Services Frieda Heckman at 315-679-4169.

For more information, contact New York Sea Grant Oswego office at 315-312-3042, www.nysgextension.org.