Arizona moves toward adopting boater education legislation

Earlier this month, the Arizona House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee voted to pass H.B. 2149: watercraft operation; minors; safety education, in a 9-2 vote. This marks the first step toward adopting boater education in the Grand Canyon State. As of today, Arizona is one of only five states without mandatory boater education.

In 2022, boating accidents killed 13 individuals, injured 60, and caused $1 million in damages across Arizona. Sponsored by State Representative David Cook (R-07) and State Senator Brian Fernandez (D-023), H.B. 2149 establishes a boater education program by requiring those born on or after January 1, 2007 operating a vessel over 50 HP to take a NASBLA-approved boater education course or presenting a boater safety card from another state.

Driven by Arizonans, H.B. 2149 has been championed across the state. Bullhead City resident, Bart Anderson, recently penned a letter to the editor in the Lake Havasu News-Herald. In the letter, Anderson called upon his experience as a Coast Guard Auxiliary Member stating that it is time Arizona pass boater education.

Recently, the Arizona Capitol Times published an op-ed written by Marc Lamber, a trial attorney and consumer advocate, Lamber has written extensively about boating safety in the past, and says, “H.B. 2149 is a common-sense measure,” the bill does not curtail enjoyment of recreational boating, rather aligning Arizona with 45 fellow states across the country. As Arizona increases in population and popularity, boating has as well, which Lamber believes is up to the state legislature to move forward in passing mandatory boater education.

With over 126,000 boats registered and a $2 billion annual impact, Arizona is a hub for recreational boating. By bridging the gap between education and boating, Arizona takes the next step in ensuring that recreational boating is here to stay in the state.

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