Boater education initiative kicked off

SOUTHOLD, N.Y – Sea Tow Services International Inc.’s 2007 Boater Education Roundtable, held last week at the company’s corporate headquarters, resulted in the formation of a committee to work toward mandatory education, the company reported in a recent statement.

At the beginning of the meeting, the marine industry participants established a goal of identifying a way to provide a minimum level of education for every boater and agreed on the need for that education to be mandatory on a state level, according to Sea Tow. There was also a consensus that such a mandate should be based on a phase-in model and be compliant with NASBLA-approved guidelines.

There were, however, differing opinions among the participants as to whether a federal mandate would be the most effective, or perhaps only, way to ensure the states establish these minimum education requirements, said Sea Tow. Some of the debate over the issue of a federal mandate revolved around the misconception that enforcing mandatory education would result in a mandate for licensing, the company added.

“The central issue is figuring out how to get all of the states to require the minimum level of education for all boaters and then standardizing that education through NASBLA approval,” said Capt. Keith Cummings, president of Sea Tow and moderator of last week’s event. “The next step would then be to move for reciprocity between states.”

The group agreed to formalize a Boater Education Steering Committee to lead this education initiative. Suggested next steps included, but were not limited to, utilizing a grassroots approach to target the states that currently have little or no education requirements and then identifying the champions within those states who will help drive this effort, according to the company.

Sea Tow reported that “the committee also plans to develop a clear, concise message that communicates the need for boater education and identify the proper channels within the boating industry, including existing grant holders, who will help communicate that message to the masses.”

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