Skip to main content

OPINION: Online boater safety courses measure up

With the Connecticut legislature poised to rule on H.B. No. 6541, which would allow online education options for boating and hunting safety, it’s time to set the record straight. Despite the emotional appeals to prevent online training, the facts indicate Internet courses are a sensible and valid educational alternative.

In a recent opinion piece, “Is online boater training sufficient?,”the author tried to discredit online education by suggesting a rise in boating accidents was somehow related to online training. However, the data shows that is not true.

According to U.S. Coast Guard boating accident statistics, those who received their boating safety certification via an Internet course were associated with only 29 injuries and two deaths in 2011. In comparison, state classroom course graduates accounted for far more incidents: 353 injuries and 42 deaths. Coast Guard Auxiliary classroom graduates suffered 121 injuries and 5 deaths, while graduates of U.S. Power Squadrons classroom courses were reported in 30 injuries and 4 deaths. (Click here for accident statistic details.)

In addition, Connecticut is one of few states that doesn’t offer online training options for boaters and hunters. Currently, online boating safety training is accepted in 45 states, while hunter safety students in more than 30 states enjoy the benefits of Internet courses. Those who study online receive a high-quality and consistent education. The effectiveness of online training was addressed in a 2012 study commissioned by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. That study concluded there is no practical difference in what classroom and online students retained months after they completed a course.

Students from all walks of life rely on online training for everything from earning an MBA to completing the classroom portion of driver’s education. Online learning can occur at the student’s own pace and online courses provide a variety of learning tools from animations to video that increase comprehension. Plus, Connecticut students who study online also would need to take a written, proctored test, just like classroom students.

While change is hard to accept sometimes, online education is an integral part of modern society. With technology advancing at a rapid pace, the experience of online study is more robust than ever before.

Tammy Sapp is director of communications for Kalkomey Enterprises, an official provider of print and Internet courses that have provided official safety certification since 1995. Kalkomey offers safety courses in all 50 states for boating, hunting, bowhunting and off-road-vehicle and snowmobile operation. For information, visit



Volvo Penta Reports Q4, FY22 Results

Net sales of $470 million for the quarter were a 33% increase compared to the prior year period.


DEALERS: Are You Improving the Service Experience?

Our monthly Pulse Report survey asks this and other questions about your dealership. Take the survey here.


NMRA Sets Scholarship Deadline

Students pursuing education in the marine trades can apply for the National Marine Representatives Association awards until April 1.


Marine Products Reports Record Q4

The builder of Chaparral and Robalo boats reported net sales were up 42% for the quarter and 28% for fiscal year 2022.


Shurhold Appoints COO

Forrest Ferrari has years of management, business development, IT and quality-assurance experience.


RBFF, Pure Fishing Partner for a First Catch Center

Pure Fishing will equip a mobile trailer with tackle and gear to bring fishing experiences to areas of South Carolina where participation is low.


An Oft-Overlooked Sales Opportunity

A recent report from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation showed that women comprise 37% of all anglers. If you haven’t tapped this segment, you’re missing out.

1. 2023 new boat retail outlook

Too Many High-Priced Boats

To wrap up 2022, marine retailers reported lower demand, expressed more negative sentiment and voiced concerns about rising inventory. Boat prices and the economy remained top of mind for dealers in December.

Soundings Nov 2022

New-Boat Registrations Continue to Slide

As the gaudy sales figures from the pandemic continue to return to more realistic numbers, the main segments of the recreational boating industry saw new-model registrations of 4,421 in November, a 30.3% drop from 6,340 during the same time in 2021. .