Starting July 1, all Virginia operators of motorboats over 10 hp and personal watercraft will be required to comply with a 2007 state law by taking a boating safety education course.
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, or BoatUS, offers a free online course for Virginia boaters that they can take at home.
“The boating safety education requirement began in 2007 and is now fully implemented on July 1 for all ages of operators,” BoatUS education foundation director Amanda Suttles Pérez said in a statement. “Our online course is great for busy schedules and is the only free online boating safety course approved by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.”
Boaters who successfully pass the course can print their own certificate of completion or order a plastic boater education card for a $10 fee. Boaters must have the course completion certificate or card and a photo ID with them when they are boating.
Passing the course could earn a discount on a boat or PWC’s insurance policy.
The course includes interactive animations, videos and photos to give boaters an education that goes well beyond the basics of boating. Videos demonstrate important safety devices — such as visual distress signals — how to get help in an emergency, how to prevent and extinguish fires aboard a boat and tips about how to fit a life jacket to a child.