NASBLA to propose improved reciprocity

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The National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) is an organization that, among other things, was formed to foster cooperation and reciprocity between the states. To that end, more than 10 years ago, NASBLA developed its minimum content for safe boating education courses. That was good. It resulted in states and private boating safety educational organizations across the nation adopting the content. On the other hand, in all the time since, NASBLA has failed to adopt an official policy of reciprocity when it comes to safety course certificates.

That’s not been good. But change is on the horizon.

At its next meeting in September, NASBLA members will be asked to approve a proposal in which all states would accept NASBLA-approved boating safety course certificates as proof of the successful completion of safety courses. This will allow boaters of one state to enjoy boating in another state when temporarily operating a boat. It will go a long way in promoting uniform state boating laws across the country. It’s long overdue. It's excellent and deserves unanimous support by NASBLA members.

Not as excellent is a companion proposal NASBLA will take up. It deals with boaters who permanently relocate from another state. This proposal should also simply call for the states to accept the safety course certificate when a boater changes state residency, but it doesn’t go that far. Instead, it proposes that when a person changes residency, and if the course certificate is from a NASBLA approved course, “the new state of residency should either accept the certificate issued by the home state or provide a mechanism for the person to take a short test, in order to become a certified boater in the new state of residency.”

In line with the NASBLA’s goal of fostering reciprocity, this proposal needs to be revised to simply call for acceptance of any certificate from any NASBLA-approved course.

There is no reasonable justification for requiring a relocating boater to “take a short test” again. Think about it – we’re living in a time when you can get a Masters Degree on the internet and need not ever set foot on the college’s campus. But NASBLA thinks it makes sense to have “a short test” to go boating? It makes no sense and this proposal needs to be amended.

It’s taken a long time for NASBLA to formally address these reciprocity issues, but the good news for boating and boaters is that it appears to be finally happening.?

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