Boaters Urged to get Educated before Boating Season

As part of the Spring Aboard-Take a Boating Education Course campaign, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is encouraging boaters to get educated on boater safety. Many course providers are offering discounts or other incentives for students who enroll or complete a boating safety education course.

Developed by The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and produced under a grant administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, the annual Spring Aboard campaign encourages boaters to prepare for the boating season by enrolling in a boating education course.

"Our boating accident investigations show that most people who get in a boating accident have not taken a boating education course," said Game Warden Captain David Pfiffner, Nevada's boating law administrator. "It's common sense that people who know how to boat do it much safer."

Some boaters are required to take a course. Nevada boaters born on or after January 1, 1983 who operate a motorboat of more than 15 horsepower on interstate waters must complete a boating education course. Nevada also requires nonresidents to meet the education requirement for their home state, but even with requirements in place, many boaters never complete a course.

"Some people aren't required to have it, and even some who are required to complete a course don't know it. That's why we push so hard this time of year to get people into courses," said Pfiffner.

U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 80% of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.

Boaters have multiple options from classroom courses offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, correspondence courses offered by NDOW and online course offerings available anytime day or night. Boaters can visit to find a course that works for them. NDOW has also created a podcast all about the Spring Aboard campaign that will be available on on Thursday.

Working in partnership with the states, many course providers will be offering incentives or course discounts for students who enroll in, or complete, a course during the Spring Aboard campaign. Course providers and offerings will vary between states, so check with your local course provider or state boating agency to find out what courses are accepted in your area. Many states require completion of a course verified by NASBLA as meeting the national boating education standard for powerboat rental or operation. To ensure a course qualifies, look for the ‘NASBLA-Approved' logo.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, and promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW's wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen's license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. Find us on Facebook, Twitter or visit us at