Get ready for boating season, take boaters ed

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks encourage boaters to enroll in a boating education course prior to the kickoff of the boating season.
U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 80 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.
“We know that an educated boater is safer on the water. If a boater has taken a boating safety education course the likelihood of their time spent on the water being a safe and enjoyable experience is much greater for them as well as their passengers,” said Stephanie Weatherington, president of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. “With today’s wide variety of courses available, there’s a course for everyone’s schedule. Boaters have multiple options from classroom courses offered by the 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 knowing what you’re doing, and now is the perfect time to take a course before the summer boating season begins.”
Montana is one of 49 states and U.S. territories that require proof of completion of a boating education course for operators of some powered vessels. Montana law requires youngsters ages 13 and 14 who plan to operate a motorboat, jet ski or other personal watercraft with 10 horsepower motor or more this summer to have a valid motorboat operator’s safety certificate or be accompanied by someone 18 years of age or older.
A Montana motorboat operator’s safety certificate for youth and adults is available through a home study course or online boating courses. The home study course is available free of charge at all FWP offices. Links for the online boating courses can be found at the FWP website  fwp.mt.gov/education/outdoorRec/boatingFloatingKayaking/class.html#online. 

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