Many states make changes to boating laws and regulations throughout the year, so it is good to get a refresher now and then with a boating safety course. A boating safety course will make sure that you know everything you can about being a safe boater including the legal requirements before inviting friends and family out on your boat.
You should also be aware that many states are now requiring that boaters get their boating license or certificate before operating various types of boats. And the way to get a Boating License or Certificate is by taking a boating safety course. The state laws may pertain to power boats, personal watercraft like Jet Skis or any other boats with engines. In addition, these laws may impact all boaters or just those of a certain age, so it is important to check the requirements of the state(s) where you will be boating and plan time to get your boating license or certificate, if it is needed.
You can find classroom courses that are offered locally in your area in the evenings or on weekends or you can take a class online from your home or office. Boating Safety Courses are offered by state boating agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, America’s Boating Club and many other companies and organizations. Regardless of how the boating safety course is presented, the final test for your boating license or certificate will include questions on life jackets, fire safety, anchoring procedures, the Navigation Rules, emergency situations, and state-specific information that boaters should know to be safe on the water in their state. If you boat in multiple states, it may be good to take a course in each of those states to be certified and up to speed on the rules in each state.
As an added incentive to get this training, boating insurance companies frequently offer discounts to boaters who successfully complete an approved boating safety course. Check with your insurance company for a list of boating safety courses or you can visit the U.S. Coast Guard’s website to find a list of approved boating safety courses.