State needs boating leaders on our waterways | State Parks
May 26, 2012 · 10:06 PM
With boating season here, recreational boaters need to lead by example and demonstrate the right way to boat safely while enjoying some of the finest boating in the nation.
“Educated boaters are less likely to be involved in a boating accident or require assistance,” stated U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Safety Specialist Dan Shipman.
Every year an average of 25 people die in boating accidents in Washington, many more are injured, and their boats are damaged or destroyed. The U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics from 2010 states that over 90 percent of boating fatalities occurred in accidents where the operator had received no form of boating safety instruction.
“Thousands of boaters enjoy Washington waterways every year. Unfortunately, Washington continues to have a high number of boating fatalities and accidents. The boater education requirement is part of a national strategy to reduce accidents and fatalities on our waterways,” said Shipman.
Boater safety education is required by law in Washington State. In 2012, all boaters ages 40 years and under are required to take a boating safety course and get the boater card, when operating a motorboat of 15 hp or greater. By 2014, this same requirement will apply to boaters born after December 31, 1954.
Summer is a great time to take a boating safety class and there are many ways to obtain the card in a classroom, online or through a home study booklet. There also is an option for more experienced boaters to “test out” by taking an equivalency exam that assesses the boater’s knowledge as an alternative to taking a course. Once the boating education course is completed, a boater prepares an application and mails it with $10 for a Boater Safety Card that is good for a lifetime.
Northwest Marine Trade Association President George Harris, a recognized partner to the recreational boating safety program said, “Boating is fun and we can have fun with boating education too. For some, the northwest boating season is short and the time spent on the water is treasured. Boating courses offer the kind of information that helps maximize time and enjoyment on the water. I encourage everyone to get the boater education card before boating season so we can all be leaders and role models in our community.”