At right: Boater education is critical to boater safety. Image courtesy of Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
With rising temperatures and more than one month of summer remaining, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is urging boating enthusiasts to be safe while enjoying the water. All boaters born on or after Jan. 1, 1955, (age 12-59) are required to obtain a Boater Education Card to help reduce boating-related accidents and fatalities.
Hundreds of thousands of people enjoy boating on Washington’s waterways every year. Unfortunately, Washington State has one of the highest boating fatality rates in the nation. Since 2003, there have been 234 boating-related deaths in the state, with 11 so far this year.
“Boating education is critical to boating safety,” says Wade Alonzo, Boating Program manager for Washington State Parks. “The more boaters know, the safer they will be—not only for themselves, but for their fellow boaters as well. That’s why the Boating Program at State Parks focuses its efforts on educating the community about the mandatory boater education law.”
The law requires boaters to carry a boater education card when operating a boat with 15 horsepower or greater on Washington State’s waterways. To obtain a card, boaters must successfully complete an approved boating safety course and submit an application to get the card.
Boaters can take a course online or in a classroom, or they can take the State Parks Adventures in Boating Washington home study course. Class costs vary; cards cost $10 and are good for a lifetime.
To find an online exam or get more information about the state’s Mandatory Boating Safety Education Program, call (360) 902-8555 or go to: www.parks.wa.gov/442/Mandatory-Boater-Education