LITTLE ROCK – It may not feel like boating season yet, but the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, along with boating safety advocates nationwide, is urging boaters to #KeepYourEdge by enrolling in a boating education course this spring. The AGFC is participating in the national Spring Aboard – Take A Boating Education Course campaign. The Spring Aboard campaign encourages boaters to get educated before the kick-off of the boating season, so they can make the most out of their time on the water.
A boating safety course provides critical boating knowledge that anyone who plans to get out on the water should have, and better prepares you for the risks you may face while boating. U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 81 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had not received boating education instruction.
“This is the perfect time to take a boating education course, instead of waiting until the last minute before a trip to the lake or river,” said Alex Hinson, Boating Education Coordinator for the AGFC. “And to help make sure people are exposed to boater education, we’ve been able to reduce the cost of the online version by 50 percent during the week of March 17-23.”
In-person boating education courses are still absolutely free, but many participants prefer to take the online version at their own convenience. This option requires an outside vendor, Boat Ed, to conduct the online test, and costs $24.50 to offset the cost of that program.
“The AGFC has no fees for boater education testing through the in-person classes, but we try to remove as many obstacles as possible for people to get boating education,” Hinson said.
Boating education is required for any person born on or after Jan. 1 1986, to operate a motorized water vessel in Arkansas. Hinson says it’s also a great idea for any passenger onboard to have taken a boating education course as well.
“Learning the rules of the water and proper safety precautions now will help everyone focus on enjoying their time this year when the warm days call us to the lake,” Hinson said.
Anyone who registers for online boating education between March 17 and March 23 can enter the coupon code SpringAboard19 to take advantage of the 50 percent discount and get certified for boating education online.
Visit www.agfc.com/boatered to learn more about boating education and sign up for a class.