Education is key to ensuring a fun, safe boating season

With spring approaching, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages boaters to avoid the rush and enroll in a safety course prior to the boating season. The reminder coincides with the national Spring Aboard – Take a Boating Education Course campaign that runs March 18-24.

“Michigan and boating go hand in hand,” said 1st Lt. Tom Wanless, Michigan’s boating law administrator. “But being on the water carries responsibilities, especially when it comes to safety. The best way to ensure an enjoyable experience is to be prepared before getting into a boat. Don’t wait until the season starts. Sign up now for a boating safety course. There are many options across the state and online, making it affordable and convenient.”

Boaters born after June 30, 1996, and most personal watercraft operators must have a boater education safety certificate.



Because of a growing number of accidents involving nonmotorized vessels, which include canoes and kayaks, Wanless encourages all boaters, regardless of age or experience, to take a safety class.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that of the nationwide accidents in which the level of operator education was known, 77 percent of boating deaths occurred on vessels where the operator never received boating education.

During the Spring Aboard awareness campaign, some course providers may offer discounts or other incentives for students who enroll in or complete a course. The campaign is promoted by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the U.S. Coast Guard and several public and private organizations.

Get more information on boating safety, including who is required to take a safety class, on the DNR website at

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