It’s hard to imagine that the Sarasota Power and Sail Squadron’s new commander, Susan Lomastro, never even wanted to join the organization.
“When we moved to Sarasota, I had no interest in boating at all,” Lomastro said.
After her husband, Bud, attended one of the squadron’s weekly meetings at Marina Jack, he told her he was thinking about joining. “You better not sign up; we’re busy enough with our church,” she told him. “He did more than that — he signed us both up.”
With some reluctance, she attended a meeting and was impressed with what she found. “I liked the commitment of all the people working there,” Lomastro said. “There was a lot of history in the squadron, too, and I really liked that.”
On Jan. 13, five years after her introduction to the squadron, Lomastro was named commander during the 60th annual Change of Watch ceremony — an impressive accomplishment in itself, not to mention that Lomastro is only the fourth woman in Sarasota history to take the helm of the group.
“I’m proud that all four of us showed the initiative to pursue advanced boating education before we became commander,” she said. “That’s something we didn’t have to do. In this squadron, people respect you based on your abilities, not whether you’re a man or a woman.”
The Sarasota Power and Sail Squadron was founded in 1952 as a chapter of the United States Power Squadrons. Its main goals are to promote boating safety, educate the public and provide a social boating atmosphere. The squadron offers a variety of courses to the public, ranging from teaching beginners the basics to focusing on fostering boating expertise.
“Everything we do comes back to safety,” said Lomastro. “We also have a large social aspect, and I think that’s what sets us apart.”
As commander, Lomastro hopes to continue to increase membership and course enrollment, and more importantly, give the squadron a higher profile.
“I think we really are one of Sarasota’s best-kept secrets, and I want to increase awareness of us in the community” she said. “I’m excited to use my creativity and leadership skills to see us into our 60th year.”