Take Florida's Boating Safety Course

By: Terry Gibson

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If you’re planning to use a boat or personal watercraft in Florida, there are some rules you should know about, and a great course on boater safety that everyone should take regardless of age and legal requirements.

If you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, you must get the Florida Boating Safety Education I.D. Card to operate any powered watercraft with more than 10 horsepower, including personal water craft, or PWC.

It’s simple and well worth the time and modest fee of $29.50.

The online Boat Florida Course features clear boating safety instructions and detailed graphics that help you improve your boating skills.

It is based on the How to Boat Smart Florida Boating Safety Course manual that was developed and printed by Boat Ed specifically for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for use in classroom instruction.

Some of the rules to be aware of include:

-- No one under age 14 may operate any PWC on Florida waters at any time, even if such person possesses a Boating Safety Education ID Card.

-- No one under age 18 may rent/lease a PWC.

-- It is illegal for the owner of a PWC to knowingly allow a person under 14 years of age to operate a PWC.

Those of just a few of the highlights you need to know.

Once you’ve passed the course, you are able to boat immediately by printing out a temporary card until your official card arrives by mail.

The course is approved and accepted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and approved and accepted by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), and recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard.

So yes, all states that have mandatory boater education requirements will accept a Florida Boating Safety Education I.D. Card. They also are respected in Canadian waters.

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