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NASBLA and FWC encourage boaters to take safety courses

A boating safety check by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

A boating safety check by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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.

Florida boating accident statistics from 2016 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.

“An educated boater is proven to be safer on the water,” said Maj. Rob Rowe, leader of FWC’s Boating and Waterways section, in a statement. “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.”

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 powered by an engine 10 hp or greater in Florida.

NASLA encourages those born before Jan. 1, 1988, to take the classes as well.

Many course providers will offer incentives or course discounts for students who enroll in or complete a course during the Spring Aboard campaign.

“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.”

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