Texas recently required all Texas boaters born on or after Sept. 1, 1993, and operating personal watercraft, motor vessels with 15 or more horsepower, or wind-powered vessels greater than 14 feet to have mandatory boater safety education. Now the BoatUS Foundation’s no-cost online boating safety course has been approved by Texas Parks and Wildlife and by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard as exceeding the minimum requirements for the National Recreational Boating Safety Program.
Boaters who successfully pass the BoatUS online course can print their own Certificate of Completion, and the state will send the official Boater Education Card to their homes. NMMA advocates mandatory boater education in all 50 states.
Meanwhile, in what may be the first action of its kind, the Suffolk County, New York, Board of Legislators passed a law requiring all county residents who operate boats to pass the state-approved Boater Safety Education Course. New York State requires classroom-based instruction without an option to take the course online, however the ordinance does not rule out educational courses that are offered online as long as they meet standards set by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators. New York now requires all PWC operators and all boat operators under 18 years old to complete boater safety education. The Suffolk County mandate goes into effect in October 2014.