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Florida boaters can take free boating safety course at home

By Staff | Dec 29, 2010

A law put into effect earlier this year now requires boaters in Florida born after Jan. 1, 1988 and operating a vessel powered by an engine with 10 or more horsepower to have successfully completed a boater safety course, carry a boater safety identification card and photo ID.

However, some Sunshine State boaters could find it challenging locating a nearby boater safety course that’s both convenient and fits their budget.

But the new Online Boating Safety Course provided by the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is now approved by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which allows the state’s boaters to take the course at no cost in the comfort of their own home. For boaters over 22 years old, taking the course could also earn a discount on your boat insurance.

The online course and exam is also approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and recognized by the US Coast Guard as exceeding the minimum requirements for the National Recreational Boating Safety Program.

“We’ve loaded the course with interactive animations, videos and photos to give boaters an education that goes well beyond the basics of boating,” said BoatUS Foundation Director of Boating Safety Chris Edmonston. “It includes videos that demonstrate important safety devices such as visual distress signals, how to get help in an emergency, how to prevent and extinguish fires aboard your boat, and the best way to fit a life jacket to a child so they will not slip out.”

“The best part of all is the course is free and can be taken at home, and it’s designed so that you can stop and then continue at any time. I will guarantee you that everyone will learn something new,” added Edmonston.

Upon successful completion of the course, boaters print out their own certificate of completionand forward to FWC which issues the boater safety identification card. To take the course go to www.BoatUS.org.

For more information about Florida boater education, go to www.myfwc.com/recreation/boat_index.htm.