Sea Tow Foundation Blog: 5 Reasons to Take a Boating Safety Class this Winter
As the days start to get longer and the calendar creeps closer to spring, the preparations for the spring boating season aren’t far away. These preparations include checking your boat from bow to stern, purchasing new equipment and scheduling your slip at the marina.
You should also add taking a boating safety course to your list as well. Whether you’re a seasoned boater or looking to take one out for the first time, there’s plenty of reasons why you should take a boating safety course prior to spring boating season. Below are five reasons you should enroll in one today:
- In many places, it’s the law – A number of states now require that boat operators complete and pass a boating safety course as well. To find out if your state is on this list, you can search for “Boating Agency” and include your state’s name to find their official website. You’ll also be able to find any requirements for taking a boating safety course for a specific type or size of boat or for a specific age of the operator.
- Stay up-to-date on new regulations – Many states make changes to boating laws and regulations which take effect on January 1st and a boating safety course will make sure that you know everything you can about being a safe boater including the legal requirements before inviting friends and family out on your boat in a few months when it warms up again.
- Learn something new – Just because you’ve been boating all your life doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new! There are courses out there for boaters of all levels, from the basic classes directed at those who have never been on a boat, to more advanced topics aimed at even the most experienced captains. No matter your age or experience level, there’s surely something out there for you to learn!
- Help educate a young boater – If you have a son, daughter, nephew, niece, grandchild or any other young one you’d like to pass along your love of boating to, there’s no better place to start than by enrolling them in a boating safety course! Here, they’ll get the hands-on knowledge that will prepare them for a lifetime of boating. To strengthen that bond, you can even take the course with them!
- Save on insurance – As an added incentive to get this boating safety training, boating insurance companies regularly offer discounts to boaters who successfully complete an approved boating safety course. Check with your insurance company for a list of courses. Plus, you may learn a thing or two along the way!
Classroom courses are frequently offered in the evenings or on weekends by your state boating agency, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, America’s Boating Club and many private companies as well. You can also find a list of online boating safety courses that are available on the U.S. Coast Guard’s website. Regardless of how the course is presented, the test will include questions on life jackets, fire safety, anchoring procedures, the Navigation Rules, emergency situations, and state-specific information that boaters should know to be safe on the water in their state.
What’s the best piece of advice you learned in a boating safety class? Share your favorite tidbits in the comments below!