Boaters Urged to get Educated before Boating

While it might be a little cold outside, now is the perfect time to enroll in a boating education course before you head out onto the water this spring. The Spring Aboard – Take A Boating Education Course campaign (March 17-23) encourages boaters to get educated prior to the kick-off of the boating season to make the most of your time on the water.

“Our boating accident investigations show that more often than not, people who get in a boating accident have not taken a boating education course,” said Tyler Turnipseed, Chief Game Warden for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “It’s common sense that people who know how to boat do it much safer.” 

U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 81% of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction. 

“Taking a boating education course is the first thing everyone should do before they go boating,” says Mark Brown, President of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).  “Whether you are a first-time boater or have years of experience, there is always more to learn when taking to the water.” 

Courses cover many aspects of boating safety, from boat handling and seamanship to reading the weather, from a “Water ‘N Kids” class to navigation skills, and from paddling to personal watercraft. You will learn critical skills and knowledge about what to do and how to react in certain situations through these courses. 

There are several online boating courses available, including a new interactive course aimed at a younger audience. You can find links to these classes on the NDOW website at Several boating education providers are participating in the Spring Aboard campaign including and, who are both offering a 50% discount when you use the code SpringAboard19. The nonprofit BoatUS Foundation is also giving a 50% discount on all their online courses. 

In Nevada, boaters born on or after January 1, 1983 who operate a motorboat of more than 15 horsepower on interstate waters are required to take a boating education course. Boating education is nationwide with forty-nine (49) states and U.S. territories requiring proof of completion of a boating education course for operators of some powered vessels.

Boating education doesn't stop at motorized boats or sailboats either. NDOW is encouraging anyone who enjoys paddle sports (canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding) to take a free online Paddle Sport Safety Course found in the Boating Safety section of the NDOW website. 

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, and it is supported by state, federal and nonprofit partners. 

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, conserves, manages and restores wildlife and its habitat for the aesthetic, scientific, educational, recreational, and economic benefits to citizens of Nevada and the United States, and to promote the safety of persons using vessels on the waters of Nevada. Find us on Facebook, Twitter or visit us at