The Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife offers Maine boaters many ways to take boating safety courses, but now there is a new option that saves money. The Pine Tree State now offers the free online BoatUS Foundation boating safety course to residents.
The course is loaded with interactive animations, videos and photos to give boaters an education that goes well beyond the basics of boating. Videos show important safety devices such as visual distress signals, how to get help in an emergency, how to prevent fires aboard your boat, and the best way to fit a child’s life jacket.
The BoatUS Foundation course also fully meets the state’s education requirements for personal watercraft (PWC) operators and is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and recognized by the US Coast Guard as exceeding the minimum requirements for the National Recreational Boating Safety Program.
Taking the course can have a positive impact on boating safety for all boaters, sailors, and anglers, and will help 16- and 17-year-old PWC operators meet boating safety education requirements. Statistics from the US Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety showed only 13 percent of all boating deaths in 2016 occurred on vessels where the operator had received a nationally approved boating safety education certificate.
“When you look at that number alone, it’s an easy decision for anyone to take our free course,” said BoatUS Foundation President Chris Edmonston. “Passing the course could also earn a discount on a boat’s insurance policy.” It is also made for busy schedules – you can stop at any time and later pick up where you left off.
Boaters who successfully pass the BoatUS Foundation online course can print their own Certificate of Completion – a requirement for all 16- and 17-year old PWC operators. Or, they may choose a to receive a wallet-size plastic card for $10. To take the course, go to BoatUS.org/Maine.
To learn more about Maine boating education requirements, go to Maine.gov.