Boaters urged to receive education before boating season

NEW ORLEANS – The temperature may be cool outside, but the Eighth Coast Guard District is joining boating safety advocates across the country to urge recreational boaters to enroll in a boating education course. The Spring Aboard – Take A Boating Education Course campaign encourages boaters to receive education prior to the kick-off of the boating season. Many education providers offer discounts or other incentives for students during the week of March 18-24, 2018, to enroll in a boating education course.

“We know that an educated boater is safer on the water,” said Tom Guess, the president of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the lead organization for the Spring Aboard campaign. “If a boater has taken a boating safety education course, the likelihood of their time spent on the water being a safe and enjoyable experience is much greater for them as well as their passengers. There’s no reason to head out on the water without knowing what you’re doing, and spring is the perfect time to take a course before the summer boating season begins.”

“U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 77% of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction,” said Ed Huntsman, the Eight Coast Guard District boating safety program manager.

With today’s wide variety of courses available, there’s a course for every boater’s schedule. Boaters have multiple options including classroom courses offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadrons and online offerings available anytime.

Education course providers and offerings will vary between states, so check with your local course provider or state boating agency to find what courses are accepted in your area. Many states require completion of a course verified by NASBLA as meeting the national boating education standard for powerboat rental or operation. To ensure a course qualifies, look for the ‘NASBLA-Approved’ logo.

The annual Spring Aboard campaign is led by the NASBLA and produced under a grant administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. It is supported by state, federal and nonprofit partners. It is open to participation by all states, territories, boating education organizations, instructors and course providers.

For more information, visit www.springaboard.org.

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