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Take a Boating Safety Course Before You Hit the Water

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 4,730 reported boating accidents in 2009, resulting in thousands of injuries, hundreds of deaths, and approximately $36 million in property damage. Taking a boating safety course can help you stay safe on the water and may also get you a discount on your boat insurance.

Why Take a Boating Safety Course?

Only a few states require a boating safety course before you hit the water. But even if your state doesn’t have that requirement, the principles and lessons taught in these classes are important for even veteran boaters and passengers to know.

In addition to being a great refresher, completing a boating safety course may also make you eligible for a discount on your boat or personal watercraft insurance.

Where Can I Find an Approved Boating Course?

If you’re taking a course to meet a state requirement, or for boat insurance purposes, make sure the course you’ve chosen is approved and will fulfill the requirements. For information on state requirements for such courses, visit the Reference Guide to State Boating Laws. Your insurance company can provide information about whether it requires these courses.

Your state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) site also usually links to programs approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard.

What Will I Learn?

NASBLA has outlined the educational objectives necessary for a boating safety course to be recognized by their organization. At the highest level, these classes cover:

  • Safe boat operation
  • Boating equipment & personal flotation devices
  • Emergency preparedness & distress procedures
  • Trip planning & navigation
  • Marine environment & laws

Even though boating safety courses may not be mandatory where you live, it can still be a good idea to learn about boating safety.

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