Spring has arrived and that means many residents and visitors will be flocking to Florida’s beautiful beaches and waterways. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants boaters to “Spring Aboard” and get educated prior to the kick-off of the boating season to make the most of their time on the water. Spring is the perfect time to take a boating safety course before the summer boating season begins.
In 2021, Florida boating accident statistics indicated that 83% of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction. Education is the key to having a safe and enjoyable day on the water.
While not currently required, owners of human-powered watercraft, such as paddleboards and kayaks, are encouraged to take a boating education class as well so they are aware of critical boating knowledge that anyone who plans to get out on the water should have and be better prepared for the risks they might face while boating.
“In Florida, boaters who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, are required to complete and pass a boater safety education course. But everyone interested in boating should take a course,” said Maj. Rob Beaton, FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section Leader. “Taking a boating education course is one of the best things you can do to prevent accidents on the water.”
Boaters have many ways to get educated, from classroom courses offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons to online offerings available any time day or night. Learn more about boater safety education by visiting MyFWC.com/boating and clicking on “Boating Safety and Education.”