State offers boating education course

S.D. Tourism file photo: Boaters enjoy time on a South Dakota waterway. An online safe-boating course starts Sunday, March 17.

Online program begins Sunday

PIERRE –  It may not feel like boating season yet, but boating safety advocates are urging boaters to “Keep Your Edge” by enrolling in a boating education course this spring.

The Spring Aboard – Take A Boating Education Course campaign encourages boaters to get educated prior to the kick-off of the boating season to make the most of your time on the water. Many education providers and partners offer discounts or other incentives for students who enroll in or complete a boating safety course during the week of March 17-23.

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.

“Although boating education is not mandatory in South Dakota, we continue to urge boaters to take one of our online boater education courses,” said boating law administrator Joe Keeton. “The information that can be taken away from this course will make you a more informed boater, which typically equates to safer boating experience on the water.”

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.

“Every boating season, our Conservation Officers respond to boating accidents across the state, and many of those could have been prevented,” added Keeton. “Whether you are a first time boater or have years of experience, there is always more to learn when taking to the water. Taking a boating education course is one of the best things you can do to prevent accidents on the water.”

Costs for both Boat-ed and BOATERexam courses are reduced by 50 percent March 17-23. Use VIP code SpringAboard19.

South Dakota offers three certified online courses. These courses can be found on online at: gfp.sd.gov/safety/. Find the three options (Boat Ed, Boat US, and Boater Exam) under No. 10 of the Top Ten Thing to Remember When Boating in South Dakota.

The annual Spring Aboard campaign is led by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and produced under a grant administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. It is supported by state, federal and nonprofit partners and is open to participation by all states, territories, boating education organizations, instructors, and course providers. For more information, visit www.springaboard.org.

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