Take a Boating Safety Course Before You Hit the Water
There were 4,158 reported recreational boating accidents in 2015 (an increase of 2.3 percent over 2014), resulting in 2,613 injuries and approximately $42 million in property damage, according to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). To help keep your boat and passengers safe, consider brushing up on your skippering skills by taking a boating safety course.
Why Take a Boating Safety Course?
Only a few states require a boating safety course before you take to the water. But even if your state doesn’t have that requirement, the principles and lessons taught in these classes may be important for even veteran boaters and passengers to know.
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 courses and requirements, visit the Boating Safety Courses page of the USCG or search for courses approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).
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. In terms of broad strokes, 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. In addition, taking a boating safety course may also help you get a discount on your boat insurance.