ASC begins online boating safety course

ORLANDO, Fla. - The American Safety Council has begun a new online safe boating education course specifically designed for Florida boaters, ASC said in a release yesterday.

The course is being launched to this week to coincide with the start of Florida's summer boating season as well as National Safe Boating Week (May 21-27), ASC said.

"It's important to realize that most boating accidents involve individuals with no formal boating safety education," says Bob Proechel, president of the American Safety Council. "Many boating accidents can be prevented if new boaters make safety a priority, which includes taking a boating safety education course prior to venturing out on Florida's waterways.

The ASC cited selected boating statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for 2003 (the most recent year for which statistics were available) to highlight the need for the course:

  • The most likely time to be involved in a boating accident (as determined by accident frequency statistics) is during the months of March, April, May, June, or July between noon and 6:00 pm while cruising.
  • 48 percent of reported accidents were primarily caused by either carelessness/inattention or violation of a navigation rule.
  • Individuals most likely to be operating a vessel involved in an accident are males between the ages of 22 and 50 who have 100 hours or more of boating experience, but no formal boater education (as determined by operator statistics).
  • Most fatal boating accident victims were males (79.7 percent) who were 22 years of age or older (75 percent).
  • 45.3 percent of boat operators involved in a fatal boating accident reported having over 100 hours of boating experience, while 90.6 percent had no formal boater education.
  • Florida's boater safety education requirements say that anyone 21 years of age and under, who operates a vessel powered by 10 horsepower or more, must pass a boater safety course and have in his/her possession photographic identification and a boater safety identification card issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    The American Safety Council's online basic boating safety course is approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and is recognized by the United States Coast Guard. The course is fully accredited and meets the State of Florida's requirements for basic boater safety education.

    The course is available online at

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