It may still feel like winter, but spring is right around the corner. The Oregon State Marine Board encourages boaters and their passengers to take a boating education course before the boating season gets underway. The Marine Board is teaming up with other states to promote the Spring Aboard — Take A Boating Education Course campaign before the boating season begins. The Marine Board also encourages having a "second in command" in case of an emergency, as an important safety intervention. Many online course providers are offering a 50 percent off discount for their boating safety courses and many Oregon classroom providers are offering free classes or discounts during the week of March 18-24.
"Educated boaters are safer on the water," says MariAnn McKenzie, Boating Education Coordinator for the Marine Board. "There are no lanes to follow, so it's important to know what to do if a boat is coming at you head on or what to do in an emergency," McKenzie adds. "What's not unique to Oregon is the need to have more than one person on board who can take immediate control of the boat if something happens to the operator. We're hoping that more than one family member or friend can step in and get educated about safe and responsible boat operation and fill the role of a second in command. This campaign incentive is a great way to get started." Education courses not only teach safety and what equipment to carry, but also cover launch ramp etiquette, courtesy, navigation rules of the road, and highlight the needs of different water recreationists so everyone can safely share the water. McKenzie adds, "Education is the best preparation -and the more the merrier."
Fifty states and U.S. territories require some form of mandatory education courses for operators of some powered boats. For more information about the Marine Board's available courses, visit www.boatoregon.com.