BoatU.S. reports members favor mandatory education

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – In the wake of the U.S. Coast Guard’s interest in federally-mandated boater education, Boat Owners Association of The United States recently conducted an online survey to gauge member opinion on this issue as well as to determine whether boaters should be required to carry a separate ID card/license for national security purposes, it reported in a statement yesterday.

Based on the first 25,000 responding, 61 percent favored mandatory education for all boaters as long as an exam substitute was an option. An additional 9 percent were even more strongly in favor saying that no exam substitute should be allowed. The survey was sent to 325,000 of the association’s 650,000 members for whom it has an e-mail address, BoatU.S. stated.

“The bottom line is that BoatU.S. members believe that recreational boaters should complete some type of instruction, be tested and certified to ensure that they have the knowledge to properly operate a boat,” said BoatU.S. President Nancy Michelman.

On the issue of being required to carry an ID card, while 75 percent had no problem with being asked to produce a state driver’s license or passport if requested by law enforcement, over half disagreed with being required to carry a separate boater ID card/license.

“It is fair to say that boaters want to be treated no differently than any motorist or aircraft passenger required to produce a current photo ID,” noted Michelman.

Survey results indicate that BoatU.S. members have a considerable amount of boating experience, stated the association. Most have been boating for more than 20 years, 68 percent had taken a boating safety course taught in a classroom, 19 percent had taken a safety class on the water, 19 percent had taken a class at home and 19 percent had taken a course online.

“Based on these results, it is clear to us that we need a diversity of boating safety course formats,” said Michelman.

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