With the pandemic fading out and people taking to the sea in their boats again, energies are high but tides can be too, and boaters often neglect the choppy waters and get carried away on the waters. This excitement, coupled with limited boating education can often lead to terrible accidents. With the rising crowdedness of lakes, rivers, channels, and other bodies of water, it stands to reason that having more people who are boat-safety certified will make our waters considerably safer. If that isn’t enough to persuade you, licenced or certified boaters may be eligible for savings on their insurance. You could argue that boater safety training is both a wonderful method to improve your knowledge and a terrific way to save money!
1. Boating Laws differ across states
It’s easy to see why boater safety training is so crucial for anyone who plans to operate a watercraft. But, exactly, what are the rules and regulations? It depends on where you live in this scenario, as each state has its own set of rules for boating safety certifications and licences.
South Carolina, for example, mandates anyone under the age of 16 to undergo boater’s education before operating a vessel with a 15 horsepower motor or bigger without adult supervision. Alaska, on the other hand, has no requirements for boating certification. It varies entirely on where you reside and where you plan to go boating, however having a boating safety license is a guaranteed pass if you want to be able to boat anywhere, anytime.
2. Post Pandemic Rush
The Pandemic came as a complete surprise to everyone. Life was typical one day, but it would never be the same after that.
COVID-19 appeared out of nowhere in late 2019/early 2020, and our entire world was irrevocably changed. In early 2020, financial professionals tried to forecast the impact of something unseen by the humans on our economy and society. During the coronavirus outbreak, economists never projected how much boating would take place. Sales of boats grew 34% year over year, with 31% of customers being first-timers. Several of these newcomers skip their boating education, making crowded waters more dangerous for all boating. Another reason why we recommend getting a boating education, so you can navigate your way around those who aren’t certified.
3. SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY
No one ever pushes out from the marina pier or boat ramp with the intention of never coming back. Tragic events, however, occur far too frequently. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there were 836 reportable boating incidents in Florida in 2020, up 113 percent from 2019. The Coast Guard reported 5,265 incidents, a 26% increase over the previous year.
767 people died in crashes around the country, including 79 in Florida. Many of these could have been avoided. How? Consider what the boaters can control: knowledge, planning, and the use of life jackets. Investigations into fatal boat crashes sought to ascertain whether the operators had received formal training, and figures show that 69 percent in Florida and 77 percent in the United States did not.
In 2010, Florida passed a legislation requiring safe boater instruction for anyone born after January 1, 1988 who wants to operate a vessel with more than 10 horsepower. In 2020, 74,376 boating education identity cards were issued, which is wonderful news. We recommend you get yours too, before you head out on the waters next time!