Finding the Best Boating Safety Courses or Fishing Resources
Posted on October 9, 2023
If you’re new to boating or are thinking of buying your first boat, there’s no need to feel adrift when it comes to boosting your boating skills. There are plenty of places you can go to take a boating safety course or learn more about boating safety, navigation, or even pick up a few useful fishing tips for your local area.
New boat sales have continued to rise since COVID, but along with this surge in sales came an increase in boating accidents and fatalities. In fact, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 636 boating fatalities nationwide in 2022 (a 3.3 percent decrease from 2021). Many of these accidents might have been prevented with a boater safety class since statistics show that few accidents involve well-trained boaters.
There are plenty of accessible resources that offer boat safety courses, online boater safety classes, and educational tips on how to fish. The time you invest will pay off big time with safer, better prepared, and more relaxed days on the water.
Hands-On Boat Handling Classes
If you don’t have much boat handling experience, register for a hands-on boating safety class. Check into the BoatUS On-Water Training Program, contact the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary for a list of current classes, or find the closest basic boat handling course offered by the United States Power Squadrons. Most beginner boating safety courses or boat handling classes involve approximately 8-hours of your time. Many of these types of classes can be applied towards your state boat license or boater safety card.
Online Boating Safety Courses
In cases where you have some boating experience, although maybe you haven’t operated a boat in a while or need to familiarize yourself with the boating laws in a new state, you can take an online boating course. BoatUS offers free online boating safety courses for each state, BoatEd Online provides an online course at a cost of $34.95, and you can register for an online class with Boater Exam.com for $29.95. These online classes can be completed at your own pace and generally takes about 6 to 8 hours to complete.
Essential Navigational Techniques
If you want to learn the essentials of safe coastal and inland navigation using basic GPS in conjunction with charts and other marine data, you can take either an online or in-person classroom course. The BoatUS Foundation and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary offer an online course titled, “Modern Marine Navigation” for intermediate level boaters that costs $40 and requires about 2-hours of time to complete. If you prefer to learn in a local classroom setting, get in touch with your local area United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and ask if a “Weekend Navigator” course is offered. This course is designed to provide both basic and advanced navigation education that includes the use of GPS and charts, parallel rulers, dividers, and compass to ensure safety if your electronics go out. The cost to register for “Weekend Navigator” generally runs around $70 and is a 9-hour time commitment.
Where to Learn to Fish
Once you’ve successfully completed a basic boating course and know how to safety navigate, why not put a few new fishing tips to use out on the water? The Salt Water Sportman National Seminar Series with George Poveromo has recently taken to television and YouTube. Get guidance from industry pros on how to target specific saltwater species by tuning into the 2021 series at George Poveromo TV on YouTube.
Before leaving the dock, use this list of boating resources to help make your days on the water safer and more enjoyable. Sign up for a class and bring your favorite boating or fishing friend along.
Boating safety courses are not just a good idea; they are essential for anyone who wants to enjoy boating responsibly and safely. Whether you’re a seasoned boater or a beginner, there’s always something new to learn and experience through these courses. By taking the time to educate yourself on boating safety, you can protect yourself, your passengers, your boat, and the environment, all while maximizing your enjoyment of this wonderful pastime. Remember, safety first – because a safe boater is a happy boater.
Lastly, boating should be an enjoyable and relaxing activity. Taking a boating safety course can enhance your enjoyment by reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of security. When you know how to handle various situations, you can focus on having fun and creating lasting memories with friends and family.
Article Written By:
Captain Debbie Hanson
Award-winning Outdoor Writer,
Women’s Sport Fishing Advocate,
Freshwater Guide in Estero, Florida
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