World-class fishing, crystal blue waters, endless sunshine – there’s so much about Florida’s waterways to enjoy. During the week of March 18-24, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourage all boaters to take part in the national Spring Aboard – Take A Boating Education Course campaign by taking a boating safety course today.
“An educated boater is proven to be safer on the water. If boat operators have 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,” said Maj. Rob Rowe, leader of FWC’s Boating and Waterways section. “There’s no reason to head out on the water without knowing what you’re doing, and spring is the perfect time to take a course before the summer boating season begins.”
In 2018, all boaters 30 years of age or younger are required to have a Boating Safety Education ID Card to legally operate a boat of 10 hp or greater in Florida. Even if you were born before Jan. 1, 1988, getting educated is a great idea.
Many course providers will offer incentives or course discounts for students who enroll in or complete a course during the Spring Aboard campaign. For a summary of Florida’s regulations and available courses, visit MyFWC.com/Boating.
“Everyone interested in boating should take a course – it’s the smart thing to do,” said Rowe. “Boaters have many ways to get educated, from classroom courses offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons to online offerings available anytime, day or night. There’s no reason to head out on the water without this knowledge.”
2016 Florida boating accident statistics indicate that, when the level of operator education was known, 70 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.
NASBLA is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. The association offers a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards and publications. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, NASBLA affects the lives of over 73.5 million American boaters.