FWC News Release
Media contact: Rob Klepper, 850-617-9666, Robert.Klepper@MyFWC.com

Boaters urged to get educated before boating season

During the week of April 17-23, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourage boaters to “Spring Aboard” by enrolling in a boating education course.

“We know from many years of experience that an educated boater is safer, and boating is a lot more fun if you aren’t confused or worried the whole trip,” said NASBLA President Col. Darren Rider. “Boating isn’t like driving a car, and many boaters – both new and experienced – are uncertain about how to boat safely. The Spring Aboard campaign is our big, unified effort to get all boaters educated. Take a little time now so you are ready when warm weather starts.”

Many course providers offer incentives or course discounts for students who enroll in or complete a course during the Spring Aboard campaign. For a summary of Florida’s regulations and available courses, visit: www.MyFWC.com/Boating.

“With today’s wide variety of courses available, there’s a course for everyone’s schedule,” said Maj. Richard Moore, FWC’s Boating and Waterways section leader. “Boaters have many ways to get educated, from classroom courses offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons to online offerings available anytime day or night. There’s no reason to head out on the water without this knowledge.”

Florida statistics for 2014 indicate that, when the level of operator education was known, 82 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction. Many states require completion of a course verified by NASBLA as meeting the national boating education standard for powerboat rental or operation. To ensure your course qualifies, look for the “NASBLA-Approved” logo.

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The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. The association offers a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards and publications. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, NASBLA affects the lives of over 73.5 million American boaters.