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Why it is important to take a boat safety course

Christopher Haught


Each year, more than 83 million Americans enjoy our nation’s rivers, lakes, and oceans by recreational craft. Boating is one of our nation’s favorite pastimes for a good, simple reason – it’s a fun and exciting way to hang out with the people we care about! Whether you enjoy fishing, water skiing, sailing, or taking a cruise, nothing compares to a great day on a boat!

The excitement that boating has to offer comes with risks too. Boating is not a completely safe endeavor and should be approached with caution. Despite all of this information, many boaters do not consider the potential danger of operating a boat. The safety of boats is an enormous responsibility that you assume when operating a boat on the water. It is important that you are aware of boat safety best practices to ensure the safety of all passengers on board.

Is Boating Safety Education Really That Important?

Boat safety education is important as it helps reduce personal injury and property damage associated with recreational craft use. Boat safety education is important for anyone out on the water. Boaters can protect themselves and their crew by learning about responsible boating, etiquette, and the rules of the waterways. Boaters can learn all of these important topics in accredited boat safety courses.

Boater safety education and the law

In the United States, over 40 states have educational requirements to operate a boat or PWC on public waterways. In Canada, all provinces have educational requirements to operate recreational craft. Police officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and enjoyable. Work with them by following your state’s laws and guidelines on boating licenses and educational requirements.

What are the benefits of boat safety education?

The most obvious benefit of taking a boat safety course is that you will become a better and safer boater. Boating safety courses can make boating more enjoyable for everyone involved, captain and passengers alike. If you are new to boat ownership or ready to expand your knowledge, a boating certification or training course is a great first step towards being prepared on the water.

Another obvious benefit of completing a boat safety course is that education can save lives. Research shows that in Florida alone, 85 percent of boating deaths involve boaters who have not taken a boating safety course. There are many cautionary stories from boaters who avoid danger by being prepared and making good, informed decisions.

It is the law! Boat safety training is mandatory in many states. When you receive your boater safety education, you will be compliant and knowledgeable on the water.

Many insurance companies offer a premium discount to boaters who have recently completed an accredited boat safety course. Check with your insurance company to see if you are eligible for a discount.

What will you learn

Boat safety courses cover many aspects of boat safety, from the basics of boat handling to understanding weather signs. Advanced boating courses are also available and cover topics ranging from navigation to engine maintenance. The most popular basic courses usually offer lessons that are intended to provide a basis for operations and safety instruction.

Most basic boating courses will give you the knowledge you need to obtain a boating license or safety certification in many states. Many boat insurance companies offer boat insurance discounts to boaters who have successfully completed an accredited boat safety course.

Where can I get my boat safety training?

Numerous boat safety courses are offered across the country for all types of recreational boaters and for boaters of all ages. Qualified volunteer organizations such as the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, US Power Squadron, and others sponsor many courses, and many state boating agencies also offer courses. You can take a local community course or an online course to further your education.

Each state has its own safety requirements and guidelines for boating. For more information on local and national boat education programs, please visit our boat safety courses page.

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Christopher Haught

Christopher Haught

Christopher works on SEO, content and digital marketing for Boat Ed®. His background in networking, marketing and operations has led him to develop a unique and systematic approach to digital marketing strategy. Chris received his bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of North Texas.

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