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Monday, September 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Milestone: 100,000 boaters complete safety course

Patterned after hunter safety requirements in effect for decades, Washington’s boating safety law has been phasing in since 2005, when the Washington Legislature obliged most powerboat operators to pass a boater safety education course and carry a Washington State Boater Education Card. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Patterned after hunter safety requirements in effect for decades, Washington’s boating safety law has been phasing in since 2005, when the Washington Legislature obliged most powerboat operators to pass a boater safety education course and carry a Washington State Boater Education Card. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

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.

The mandatory education program has been phased in, based on age, since 2008.

This year, boaters ages 40 and younger are required to have their boater education card with them when boating in Washington. The card requirement for other age groups will be phased in through 2014.

Boaters born before Jan. 1, 1955, are exempt from the law. The boater education card is a one-time requirement and applies only to people operating powerboats with motors greater than 15 horsepower.

To meet the education requirements, boaters can take approved courses in a classroom, online or at home. Once the course is passed, boaters pay $10 for the card, which is good for life. Information is available online at www.boatered.org or call (360) 902-8555.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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