Get Ready Now for Summer Boating Season
Boater Education Classes are Mandatory
To legally operate a motorboat in West Virginia, passing a mandatory boater education course is required for anyone born after December 31, 1986. This requirement became law in January 2001. West Virginia Division of Natural Resources law enforcement officers are scheduling boater education classes at numerous locations across the state. These classes have been sparsely attended in the past, despite numerous announcements, according to Lt. Tim Coleman, state coordinator for the DNR boating education program.
“Conservation officers, while on patrol or attending public meetings, have been advising the boating public of the requirement for the boater education class since the law became effective,” Lt. Coleman said. “With the increase in recreational motor boat traffic, personal watercraft use, numerous commercial watercraft on larger rivers and the increased use of vessels of all descriptions, it has become imperative that all boat operators become familiar with boating laws and safety rules. This will ensure that all of our boaters, fishermen, and swimmers enjoy a safe, enjoyable, accident free day on the water. We hope more of the public will take advantage of these classes before taking to the water this summer.”
Conservation officers have begun a statewide enforcement effort on the boater education requirement during patrols on state waters. Citations will be issued to individuals who do not meet the requirements of the boater education law and to the owner or the person in charge of a motorboat or personal watercraft (jet ski) who allows these vessels to be operated in violation of boating laws and regulations.
Boater education classes cover general boating knowledge, what to do before you get underway, how to operate your boat safely, legal requirements of boating and what to do in case of a boating emergency. Classes are conducted by West Virginia conservation officers and volunteer boater education instructors. The Coast Guard Auxiliary also conducts boater education classes. Students who successfully complete these classes will be issued a boater education certificate which will allow them to operate a motorboat nationwide.
Find out about boater education classes in your area by contacting your local conservation officer or a DNR district office, by calling 1-800-243-9968, or on the Web at www.wvhuntered.com. Online boater education courses which meet state law requirements may be accessed atwww.boatus.org or by following the www.wvdnr.gov Web links.
Lt. Tim Coleman, Law Enforcement Section (304) 558-2784 firstname.lastname@example.org
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