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It may not feel like boating season yet, but the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, along with boating safety advocates nationwide, urges boaters to enroll in a boating education course this spring. The Department is participating in the national Spring Aboard – Take A Boating Education Course campaign March 17-23. The Spring Aboard campaign encourages boaters to take an education course prior to the kick-off of the boating season so they can make the most out of their time on the water.

A boating safety course provides critical boating knowledge that anyone who plans to get out on the water should have and better prepares you for the risks you may face while boating. U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 81 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.

“Education contributes greatly to a safe and enjoyable day on the water,” said Aaron Kerr, law enforcement coordinator for Game and Fish. “Even though the operator has the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the vessel, its crew and passengers, everyone who plans to be onboard should consider taking a boating safety course to prepare for their time on the water. Spring is the perfect time to take a course before the summer boating season begins.”

Game and Fish is partnering with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) to inform boaters about the benefits and necessity of taking a boating education course. In Wyoming, there is no requirement to take a boating safety course prior to operating a watercraft, but boaters are encouraged to take a boating education course if they have never taken one before, or to take a course as a refresher in order to prepare for the boating season ahead.

Several neighboring states require boat operators to carry a boater education card, which you should be aware of if you plan to boat out of state. In addition, some insurance companies will provide discounts on boat insurance to people who have successfully completed a boater education course.

This week, Wyoming boaters who sign up for an online boating safety course with one of Game and Fish’s partner course providers will receive a 50 percent discount using the code “SpringAboard19”. Learn more about courses and enroll by visiting www.springaboard.org or wgfd.wyo.gov.