It is finally boating season, and people across the country are itching to get on the water. If you’re new to boat ownership or ready to expand your knowledge, a boating certificate or education course is the first step to be prepared on the water. A simple Internet search will show several resources for boating courses in your area. However, boating certificate courses are not a “to-may-to, to-mahh-to” situation. Not all courses have a stamp of approval. Boat Ed courses do. These official courses are approved by the state boating safety agencies and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Plus, they are recognized by the U.S Coast Guard. In fact, Boat Ed courses are the only ones used by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
So what is NASBLA, and why is their stamp of approval so critical? NASBLA is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. They represent the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.
NASBLA works closely with the U. S. Coast Guard to provide members with valuable knowledge of waterway safety, advocate for boating laws, and maintain education and training standards. The latter initiative is important to boaters for a number of reasons.
Updated in 2012, course providers must adhere to stringent standards that cover topics from boat ownership to water activities. Course design, state-specific requirements, and course delivery methods also are included in the thorough process. However, with all of these steps, how do boaters know that a NASBLA course actually makes a difference?
The U.S. Coast Guard released its 2012 Recreational Boating Statistics earlier this month and cited some key areas that are a result of improved boater education and safety measures. There were 4,515 boating accidents in 2012, 63 fewer than those reported in 2011. Of the 651 boating-related deaths, alcohol use, hazardous waters, operator inexperience, and inattention ranked as the top four accident causes. Only 9 percent of these accidents were caused by individuals who had taken a NASBLA-approved boating safety course, compared to 14 percent who had received another form of boating instruction.
Overall the number of accidents (-1.6 percent), injuries (-2.6 percent) and deaths (-14.1 percent) decreased in 2012. Yet, boaters still can do more to lower these statistics. Each NASBLA-approved boating safety course equips boaters with the knowledge to avoid and anticipate situations that can lead to accidents. If a seal of approval from NASBLA will give you a greater chance of having safe boating experiences, why would you consider anything else?
At Boat Ed, we want everyone to make safe decisions on the water to avoid boating safety mistakes that can result in injury, loss of property, or loss of life. To learn more about NASBLA, visit nasbla.org. If you’re ready to take a boating course, select your state at boat-ed.com.