Sea Tow takes stance on boater education

SOUTHOLD, N.Y. – Sea Tow Services International Inc. has declared it’s in favor of mandating recreational boater education.

“Accidents on the water are not geographically, demographically or socially isolated,” said the boater assistance company in a statement yesterday. “As with drivers on our nation’s roadways, boaters are at the mercy of those who share their waterways. Because of this, it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to be cognizant of, and adherent to, basic safety practices (i.e.: proper PFD and VHF usage) and the rules of the road. The way to accomplish this is through universal boater education.”

Sea Tow’s president, Capt. Keith Cummings, said the company believes requiring boater education will not only significantly decrease accident and mortality rates, but also stimulate the growth of new entrants to boating.

“People are afraid of what they don’t know,” he said. “I’ve seen non-boaters go from having tentative interest to unbridled enthusiasm for the sport, just by learning the basics of boating – and by seeing how much fun it can be. That enthusiasm, we believe, will also positively affect boat sales.”

Currently, just over 30 states have some form of educational requirements in place, according to Sea Tow. Only a handful of those states have boater education requirements that apply to every boater in the state, regardless of age. While Sea Tow said this is a good start, it believes the requirements need to be mandated and the educational process standardized throughout the United States in order to really see a positive impact on both decreasing boating accidents and increasing the number of entry level boaters.

The company pointed out that its statement “comes on the heels of an extremely high-volume Memorial Day weekend, which was fraught with accidents and rescue calls for incidents that could have easily been avoided with proper boater education” and “in advance of the first Small Vessel Security Summit on June 19, which is being sponsored by the Dept. of Homeland Security.”

Sea Tow will be hosting an executive roundtable discussion on the subject of mandatory boater education at its headquarters in mid-July. The company said the roundtable will include industry representatives from key business segments.

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