NASBLA Roundtable

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  • 1.  Remote live instructor safe boating classes?

    This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous
    Posted 04-25-2022 03:41 PM
    This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous

    Curious whether there is some NASBLA standard for state safe boating courses which poses a problem for live instructor led courses being offered remotely by Zoom or similar video conferencing technology. 

    Purely passive learning via online slide-show type classes with an online test is a large part of the boater education landscape. And, of course traditional classroom based instruction with a live instructor. 

    Remote instruction with a live instructor seems like a perfectly reasonable option.  

    Texas Parks & Wildlife won't permit it. Is there some standards based reason, that I am not aware of? 

  • 2.  RE: Remote live instructor safe boating classes?

    Posted 04-25-2022 04:34 PM
    Hello Anonymous,
    Prior to the pandemic the only NASBLA approved boating education methods were the classroom and internet formats. However, when the lockdowns began it became apparent that delivering boating education using virtual classroom technology was a viable and sometimes necessary delivery option.
    On April 16, 2020, the NASBLA Executive Board authorized the NASBLA Emergency COVID‐19 Virtual Classroom Presentation and Testing Authorization. This allowed the traditional approved classroom-based courses to be delivered virtually, WITH THE STATES FINAL APPROVAL. This emergency authorization was originally meant as a temporary measure. Because of the ongoing pandemic the expiration date has been extended multiple times. (The current expiration date is December 31, 2022)
    However, it became apparent that there are advantages to using virtual classroom technology and the Executive Board authorized the development of permeant virtual course guidelines. I am hopeful that these guidelines will be adopted and in place by June 1, 2022. 
    Having said this it is very important to note that each state makes the final decision as to which delivery methods and boating course providers they will recognize. NASBLA cannot and WILL NOT dispute the decision of any state on these matters.
    If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. I can be reached via email at or by phone, 859-225-7372.
    I hope that this information was beneficial.

    Mark Chanski
    NASBLA Education Director

  • 3.  RE: Remote live instructor safe boating classes?

    Posted 04-26-2022 12:09 PM
    Hello Anonymous and Mark,
    Since 2020, when the NASBLA Executive Board authorized the NASBLA Emergency COVID‐19 Virtual Classroom Presentation and Testing Authorization,and the State of Florida approved the USCG Auxiliary to teach virtual courses, I have arranged monthly courses for teaching Boating Skills and Seamanship. This is an approved NASBLA course that also allows our class members who pass the test to get their Florida Boater Card/license.

    I have had great success using appropriate videos added to our powerpoint lessons, along with discussions virtually and these have added to our class experiences. I have five instructors who teach hourly segments over the three weeks of classes that we present.

    Responses from our students have been very positive and they all have performed well on the required tests. In addition, I have offered free classes for all who have participated when we return to in-person teaching. They may join one or more of the classes that we felt were not wholly supported by virtual teaching--such as charting and navigation exercises. Knot-tying, although offered by videos, will be given in seminars at our training center, outside where class members can wear masks and still observe proper knots being used for specific purposes like hanging fenders, tying to a dock, etc.

    We will continue to teach virtually throughout the year, even when we return to in-person teaching because it has brought valuable lessons to those who were not able to attend safe boating classes otherwise. Students from many states have joined our classes held virtually by me and my instructors from our homes on our computers.

    Given, the excitement and classroom antics that instructors traditionally use to keep attention to the lessons, are difficult to mirror, but techniques can be used to engage students, using humor, relating stories, incorporating student experiences, etc., to make the classes more enjoyable.

    I have enjoyed teaching virtual classes and will continue to do so; it affords me to offer more classes during the year; it allows me to teach at home; it brings in students from out of area without travel; it benefits the boating community by engaging boaters in a more active way with a human instructor than purely online courses offered by vendors.

    I recommend virtual classes; it does take some planning in design and setup but I find it worth the time and effort.

    Venice, Fl USCG Auxiliary


  • 4.  RE: Remote live instructor safe boating classes?

    Posted 04-27-2022 12:03 PM
    Hi all,
    We started ABYC's online learning program back in 2015 with the focus on offering continuing education beyond just our standards based content. We were reluctant to offer certification training online for several reasons even though we had the necessary tools in place. COVID obviously changed that and we were thankful to have the infrastructure in place to offer the training 100% online including the certification exams which are administered through an online proctor.

    While we did not fall under the purview of state or federal regulation limiting our delivery options, ABYC has always felt strongly about the hands-on approach to certification education hence our reluctance to offer it pre-pandemic. We have now been offering virtual training for more than 2 years and we have learned many things throughout the evolution including:
    - the learning mechanism is obviously different from in-person but we are still very much in control of delivery and we can consistently offer the materials as well as track attendance and participation.
    - we can offer the courses at a pace easier for many learners to digest (instead of 3 or 4 full days of instructor training, online is 3x 90 minute live sessions a week for 2-3 weeks). This is not only better for most learners' subject matter retention, but it means that a learner does not need to take a week off from work to travel to a class.
    - we can engage a larger audience (regional and international) instead of only those willing to travel to one of our courses. This is probably the most important element that would translate to boater education... it should be easy for them to learn.
    - the live sessions are recorded and available to review. This has been key for many that may not be able to attend all live sessions throughout the duration of the course.
    - student-instructor & student-student interactions are still very much an important aspect of learning. Switching to online has not prevented that communication, but it has actually provided more channels for communication and made for more valuable discussions in the virtual setting.
    - we can offer additional learning references that may not have been an option when face to face (3rd party multimedia, quality pictures, links for external references, etc.).

    Overall the program has been welcomed by the boating industry and it shows in the attendance numbers and passing rates that are both trending upward. We do plan to hold in-person classes but the live online format is here to stay.


    Matthew Wienold
    ABYC Education Development Manager