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Boat Show has deal for getting mandatory boater safety card

BOATING — Starting this year, you'll need a boater safety education card in your pocket if you're a state resident age 50 or younger and you plan to drive most powerboats in Washington.

The Spokane National Boat Show, Feb. 1-9 at Spokane County Fair and Expo Center is offering a special deal to help families meet the state requirements.

  • Register in advance for a boater education course to be held at the Expo Center and you'll get free admission to the show. 

The Spokane Sail and Power Squadron is again teaching the ABC 3 course at the boat show. This year the state of Washington requires people 50 and under, operating water craft of 15hp or more, to have attended a certified 8-hour boating safety course.  

A certified course can be taken online on the Washington State Parks website, but you'll get a lot more out of the personal attention and materials you'll get at the boat show course, with sessions set for Feb. 4 through Feb. 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

  • Preregister through Feb. 1 at West Marin, 5306 E. Sprague Ave. or at the squadron's clubhouse, 929 W. Jackson Ave.
  • Info: (208) 777-0220

This will be the 58th annual National Boat Show in Spokane, and at least four guides or tournament fishermen are scheduled to present fishing seminars.

Milestone: 100,000 boaters complete safety course

BOATING — The Washington State Boating Program reached a milestone in its mandatory boater education program last week, issuing card number 100,000.

David Eckols of Seattle won tickets to a Seattle Seahawks game for being the 100,000th boater card recipient.

See my recent column pointing out that since January, all Washington powerboat drivers age 40 and and younger must  have a boater education card to operate a boat powered by a 15 horsepower motor or larger.

Last year, the Boating Programs recorded 17 boating fatalities, the lowest number in 10 years. According to Washington State Parks Director, Don Hoch, educated boaters are less likely to be involved in boating accidents than non-educated boaters.

“Since the program started in 2008 we have had an outstanding compliance rate,” says Hoch. “The great news is that we are starting to see a reduction in boating fatalities, property damage and injuries. We hope this trend continues.”

Read on for more details about Washington boater education requirement.