State Parks stresses boating safety through education

Even though summer is winding down, the Washington State Parks Department urges boaters to be safe while enjoying the water. Earning a boater safety education card helps reduce boating-related accidents and fatalities – and in fact is required by law.

Each year, thousands of people boat on Washington’s waterways every year. Unfortunately, the state has one of the highest boating fatality rates in the nation. Since 2003, there have been 234 boating-related deaths in the state, with 11 so far this year, according to the State Parks boating safety program.

“Boating education is critical to boating safety,” Wade Alonzo, Boating Program manager for the department, said in the news release. “The more boaters know, the safer they will be — not only for themselves, but for their fellow boaters as well. That’s why the Boating Program focuses its efforts on educating the community about the mandatory boater education law.”

State law requires boaters to carry a boater education card when operating a boat with 15 horsepower or greater on Washington’s waterways. To obtain a card, boaters must successfully complete an approved boating safety course. .

. The requirement applies to boaters born on or after Jan. 1, 1955 and at least 12 years of age.

To meet the new education requirements, boaters can take a course online or in a classroom, or they can take the State Parks “Adventures in Boating Washington” home study course. Cards cost $10 and are good for a lifetime.