Why It Is Important to Take a Boater Safety Course

Each year, more than 83 million Americans enjoy our nation’s rivers, lakes, and oceans through recreational boating. Boating is one of our nation’s favorite pastimes for a good, simple reason—it’s a fun and exciting way to spend time with the people we care about! Whether you like to fish, water-ski, sail, or cruise, nothing quite compares to a great day out on a boat! 

The excitement that boating has to offer also comes with risk; boating is not a completely safe endeavor and should be approached with caution. Despite all of the information out there, many boaters fail to consider the potential hazard of operating a boat. Boat safety is an enormous responsibility you take on when operating a boat on the water. It is important that you are properly educated on boat safety best practices in order to ensure the safety of all passengers on board.

Is boating safety education really that important?

Boating safety education is important because it helps reduce personal injury and property damage associated with the use of recreational boats. Boating safety education is important for everyone out on the water. Boaters can keep themselves and their crew safe by learning about responsible boat operation, etiquette, and the rules of the waterways. Boaters can learn about all of these important subjects through approved boat safety education courses. 

Boater safety education and the Law

In the United States, over 40 states have educational requirements for operating a boat or PWC on public waterways. In Canada, all provinces have educational requirements for operating pleasure craft. Law enforcement officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them by following your state’s laws and guidelines on boat license and education requirements. 

What are the benefits of boating safety education?

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

Another obvious advantage to completing a boating safety course is that education can save lives. Research indicates that in Florida alone, 85 percent of boating fatalities involve boaters who have not taken a boating safety course. There are many cautionary tales of boaters avoiding peril by being prepared and making good, educated decisions.

It’s the law! Boat safety education is mandatory in many states. Getting your boater safety education will keep you compliant with the law and competent out on the water.

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

What are some of things you will learn?

Boat safety courses cover many aspects of boating 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 generally have lessons that are intended to provide a foundation of operational and safety instruction. 

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

Where can I get my boat safety education?

Many boating safety courses are offered throughout the country, for all types of recreational boaters, and for boaters of all ages. Qualified volunteer organizations, such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron, and others sponsor many courses, and many state boating agencies also provide classes. You can take a local community course or an online course to help educate yourself.

Every state has its own boating safety requirements and guidelines. Check our boat safety courses page for more information on local and national boating education programs. 

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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.