During the week of March 19-25, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) are encouraging boaters to ‘Spring Aboard’ by enrolling in a boating education course. This national boating safety campaign was created to help educate boaters and reduce the number of serious boating accidents.
“The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft wants to ensure every effort is made to promote boater safety and encourage education on the water,” said Mike Bailey, chief of the ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft. “The Spring Aboard campaign is a great tool we use to help limit the number of serious accidents that occur on Ohio’s waterways.”
According to the 2015 Recreational Boating Statistics report by the U.S. Coast Guard, statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 71 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.
In Ohio, a boater education course is required for anyone wanting to operate a boat over 10 horsepower who was born after Jan. 1, 1982. Ohio’s boater requirement can be met by taking and passing an approved boating education course (classroom, online or home study), or by taking and passing a proficiency exam. For a summary of Ohio’s regulations and available courses, go to: watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/boatereducation. “If a boater has taken a boating safety education course, the likelihood of their time spent on the water being a safe and enjoyable experience is much greater for them as well as their passengers,” said Stephanie Weatherington, president of NASBLA. “Boaters have multiple options from classroom courses to online offerings available anytime day or night. March is the perfect time to take a course before the summer boating season begins.”
Working in partnership with the states, many course providers will be offering incentives or course discounts for students who enroll in, or complete, a course during the Spring Aboard campaign. Many course providers, including Ace Boater, BoatEd and BoaterExam, will be offering course discounts for students who enroll in or complete a course during the Spring Aboard campaign. Course providers and offerings will vary between states so individuals should check with their local course provider or state boating agency to find out what courses are accepted in their area. Many states require completion of a course verified by NASBLA as meeting the national boating education standard for powerboat rental or operation. To ensure a course qualifies, look for the ‘NASBLA-Approved’ logo.
The Spring Aboard campaign is open to participation by all states, territories, boating education organizations, instructors and course providers. For more information about the Spring Aboard campaign, visit nasbla.org/spring.
The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft is responsible for managing Ohio’s 74 state parks and providing the finest outdoor recreational opportunities, including first-class boat services, facilities and law enforcement for users of Ohio’s waterways and public lands.