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Travel Tip: Boating Courses

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Every summer, I remind people the importance of safe and responsible boating—and for anyone going out on the water–that includes getting proper training.

The scary statistic is that boating fatalities jumped almost 13 percent in 2011, and they’re now at the highest level since 1998.

Operator inexperience is one of the top three contributing factors to boating accidents, leading to 43 fatalities last year.

What you want to look for is a training course that’s been approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and is recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard.

There are plenty of online safety courses out there, but I say nothing compares with getting hands-on experience in the open water.

So look into programs like the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s boating skills and seamanship course, or US Powerboating’s on-the-water training courses for powerboat operators.

And if you’re really serious, you can even look into getting a captain’s certificate. That includes testing on rules of the road, chart navigation, and safety.

Even if you’re not planning on opening your own charter company, it’s still a great way to build on your boating education as an enthusiast.

For more information, visit the Water Sports & Cruise archives.

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