The State Parks and Recreation Commission and boating safety leaders are reminding boaters to take a boating safety course and get their boater safety education card this winter.
Boater safety education is required by law in Washington state.
In 2011, all boaters under age 35 are required to take a boating safety course and get their boater safety card. By 2014, the safety course and card will be required for everyone born after 1954.
“Every year an average of 25 people die in boating accidents in Washington and many more are injured and boats are damaged or destroyed,” said Lake Stevens Police Chief Randy Celori in a news release. He serves as chairman of the State Parks Boating Safety Advisory Council.
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Boaters can take a course in a classroom setting, online, hands-on or through a home study booklet. There also is an equivalency exam for experienced boaters. Once the boater has completed the course or exam, he or she needs to complete an application and pay just $10 for a boater safety card that is good for a lifetime.
Within the next three years, State Parks boating program staff estimate that more than 200,000 additional boaters will need to take a boating safety class and get the card to meet the legal requirement.
Boaters cited for not having the card face an $87 fine.
To apply for the boater card or for more information on classes, visit www. boatered.org or call 360-902-8555.