Boating and Fishing Safety Course
It is a popular belief among many fishermen that anyone who has a boat, rents a boat, or borrows a boat should have to take a safety course in how to drive that boat on the water. Someone new to the water might not realize that it is not the same as driving a car. And some of the ones who have driven a boat for a few years don’t seem to have a clue about the guidelines of boating on lakes and waterways. There are state rules as well as courtesy rules on the waterways in most cases.
Some states have changed the laws for boating safety. Tennessee, for one, has a certification program for anyone born after Jan 1, 1989 who wants to drive a boat. It is a state law for anyone driving a boat to take a boat safety course and get certified. It may not be mandatory in all states but for the safety of you and your family it is a good idea to take the course.
To take the Boat Safety Course go to boat-ed.com. Choose your state and click on it. The test is user-friendly and self-directed. I think it is great that you can study at your own pace. If you do not pass the first time, you can take it again. You only pay the fee after you have passed the test. When you pass the course, you can print off a temporary BSE certificate that is good for 60 days. They will send the results to your state and the state will get your certification to you. It will cost you $29.50 after you pass the test. This is a one-time fee.
The study course covers topics such as:
· knowing and operating your boat
· boating terms
· how to handle emergencies
· your responsibilities to passengers, other boaters, and those who are engaged in other water sports
· legal requirements
Under the legal requirement, subjects covered are about who can and cannot operate the boat, registration of the boat, where to put the decals, and items you are required to have on board according to the size of your boat, etc. The list is long but it seems to cover everything a boater would need to know.
This course tells you about the types of life jackets or the type of PFD “s (personal floatation devices) that are required and the number that are required for your boat size.
You are required to have fire extinguishers rated B or C for boats that are 26ft. or longer. The fire extinguishers in our boat are rated A,B,C meaning A will put out fires of combustible solids like wood---B will put out fires of combustible liquids like gasoline and oil---and C will put out fire of electrical fires. There may be some fire extinguishers that are rated only A and my thought is buy the extinguisher rated for all types of fires. Before we had a 26 footer, my husband bought a fire extinguisher for his small boat after witnessing other boat fires in the middle of the lake. His reality was even small boats can catch fire.
This course can teach you about environmental issues like being careful to not introduce nuisance species into the waters. This was an eye opener for me because I didn’t know things could attach themselves to the bottom and sides of your boat. Especially, when you may fish different lakes and fail to wash your boat in between.
There are many pollution issues that you need to avoid because some will involve a $10,000 fine. It seems that some irresponsible boaters will throw debris and trash into the waters and that can be a danger to boats and people who engage in water sports.
We can all enjoy our fishing, boating, and other water sports or activities when we take care of our waterways. It is wonderful that there are many groups of clean water and shorelines enthusiast who will meet to clean up what a few are negligent people do. It can be a wonderful activity for the family and it teaches our children to give back to their community while learning the value of taking care of our natural resources.