ODNR offers boating education courses statewide


During the week of April 17-23, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) encourage boaters to Spring Aboard by enrolling in a boating education course. Many course providers, including BoaterExam, Boat Ed and AceBoater, will offer course discounts for students who enroll in or complete a course during the Spring Aboard campaign.

“The ODNR Division of Watercraft wants to ensure that every effort is made to promote boater education to help encourage exceptional safety practices by all of Ohio’s boaters,” said Mike Miller, chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft. “The Spring Aboard campaign is a fun way to encourage certification and provides a role model for safe practices for everyone who enjoys spending time on the water.”

Ohio’s Boater Education requirement can be met by taking and passing an approved boating education course (classroom, online or home study), or by taking and passing a proficiency exam. Forty-nine states and U.S. territories, including Ohio, require proof of completion of a boating education course for operators of some powered vessels. For a summary of Ohio’s regulations and available courses, go to: watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/boatereducation.

“With today’s wide variety of courses available, there’s a course for everyone’s schedule,” said NASBLA President Col. Darren Rider. “Boaters have many ways to get educated, from classroom courses offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons to online offerings available anytime, day or night. There’s no reason to head out on the water without knowing what you’re doing.”

The 2014 U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that, when the level of operator education was known, 80 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction. Many states require completion of a course verified by NASBLA to meet the national boating education standard for powerboat rental or operation. In Ohio, a course is required for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1982, who wants to operate a boat over 10 horsepower.

The ODNR Division of Watercraft administers Ohio’s boating and scenic rivers programs. The division oversees watercraft registration and titling operations; provides funding to local communities for education, enforcement and boating access facilities; educates the public; and enforces boating laws on Ohio’s waterways.

ODNR ensures a wise balance between the use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

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