Boater safety education is now required in the State of Washington. In 2011, all boaters under the age of 35 are required to take a boating safety course and get their boater education card. The law applies to operators of motorboats of 15 horsepower or greater. The card requirement is phased in through 2014, when all boaters born after January 1, 1955, will be required to have a card. Boating organizations around the state supported the enactment of this law, so we could encourage everyone even those that are exempt to get this important safety training” notes Sheriff Casey Salisbury.
Boaters who understand the rules and the risks are going to be safer on the water. An average of 25 people per year die in boating accidents on Washington waters and many more are injured, with boats being damaged or destroyed. We are making boating safer through education. Boaters can choose to obtain the training through education courses, over the internet, or through a home study course. There is also and equivalency exam for experienced boaters. Once a boater has completed the course or exam, they pay$10 for the Boater Education Card that is good for a lifetime. The courses being offered by the Sheriff’s Office are free. It should be noted that many other courses offered throughout the state have fees attached.
The fine for not carrying a card is $87. Winter and early spring are great times to take a class, so you will be ready for boating season. Waiting could mean a delay in getting your card. The State Parks “Commission Boating Safety Program usually gets a flood of applications the first few days of spring” according to Deputy Brad Trout, program instructor.
For other options in obtaining a Boater Safety Card and more information on this program visit online at www.boatered.org or call (360)902-8555.