The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and state, federal and nonprofit partners are encouraging boaters to enroll in a boating education course prior to the kickoff of the boating season.
This week, as part of the Spring Aboard – Take A Boating Education Course campaign, many course providers are offering discounts or other incentives for students who enroll or complete a boating safety education course.
Developed by NASBLA, and produced under a grant administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, the annual Spring Aboard campaign informs and motivates boaters to prepare for the boating season by providing information on how to enroll in a boating knowledge or skills based education course. The campaign emphasizes enrollment in courses verified as meeting the national boating knowledge or skill standard.
U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 80 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.
“We know that an educated boater is safer on the water,” said Stephanie Weatherington, president of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. “If a boater has taken a boating safety education course, the likelihood of their time spent on the water being a safe and enjoyable experience is much greater for them as well as their passengers.
“With today’s wide variety of courses available, there’s a course for everyone’s schedule. Boaters have multiple options from classroom courses offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons to online offerings available anytime day or night,” she continued. “There’s no reason to head out on the water without knowing what you’re doing, and March is the perfect time to take a course before the summer boating season begins.”
Forty-nine states and U.S. territories require proof of completion of a boating education course for operators of some powered vessels. For a summary of Georgia’s regulations and available courses, visit http://www.gadnrle.org/boating-education
Working in partnership with the states, many course providers will be offering incentives or course discounts for students who enroll in, or complete, a course during the Spring Aboard campaign. Course providers and offerings will vary between states, so check with local course provider or state boating agency to find out what courses are accepted in your area.
Many states require completion of a course verified by NASBLA as meeting the national boating education standard for powerboat rental or operation. To ensure a course qualifies, look for the ‘NASBLA-Approved’ logo.