On-Water Skills Training Course Verification

By Ron Sarver posted 05-31-2017 09:33 AM

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) announces a new course verification opportunity for providers of on-water skills training for recreational power or human-propelled boating courses. Successful completion will include the award of a uniquely numbered verified course mark indicating, “The content of this course conforms to the American National Standard for on-water skills as verified through an independent third-party assessment process.”

Recognized by the American National Standards Institute as American National Standards, both the On-Water Power and On-Water Human-Propelled standards identify fundamental skills that entry level recreational boat operators should be able to demonstrate after receiving instruction. The standards are freely available for voluntary application by organizations providing recreational boating instructional programs. For a limited time, this new third-party course verification process is provided at no-cost under funding provided by the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

“Boating isn’t like driving a car, and many boaters – both new and experienced – are uncertain about how to control their boat safely,” said Stephanie Weatherington, NASBLA President. “Many course providers offer outstanding opportunities for hands on training, and boaters will appreciate that a third-party has reviewed the course to determine that it voluntarily meets requirements of the American National Standard for on-water boating skills. This Verified Course process, and the resulting display of the verified course mark, will provide the general boating public that assurance.”

2016 U.S. Coast Guard recreational boating accident statistics indicate that, when the level of operator education was known, 80% of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education or instruction. In many states, boaters are required to complete an online or classroom course approved by NASBLA as meeting the national boating education standard, before renting or operating and powerboat. This new process for on-water skills training course verification is an additional voluntary option for course providers.

“There is always more to learn when it comes to operating your boat more effectively,” said Weatherington. “A skills-training program allows an operator to board and load safely, operate with ease in tight quarters or on open water, and handle the unexpected with confidence. A skills course allows a boater the opportunity to apply basic knowledge and develop boat-handling skills on the water. It’s the next piece of the puzzle for safe boat control and an enjoyable boating experience.”

Course providers interested in submitting materials for the Verified Course process should visit www.nasbla.org/education/verified.