Back in my day, boating safety classes were held at the local library, on the hottest days of the summer and only when the air conditioning was broken. Nowadays anyone can hop online, take a first-class safety course, take a test and print their certificate from the comfort (and air conditioning) of their own home. O.K. so “my day” was only a few years ago, can’t a guy be jealous?
This course is provided through the BoatUS Foundation and has recently been recognized in Louisiana as license-worthy. In Louisiana, anyone operating a vessel in excess of 10 mph must possess a boating license. “We’ve loaded the course with interactive animations, videos and photos to give boaters, sailors and anglers an education that goes well beyond the basics of boating,” said Chris Edmonston, BoatUS Foundation President. “It includes videos that demonstrate important safety devices, such as visual distress signals, how to get help in an emergency, how to prevent and extinguish fires aboard your boat, and the best way to fit a life jacket to a child so they will not slip out,” he added. Though the law requires boaters to have a license, many in Louisiana never complete the safety course. “We want to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to get their boating safety certificate,” says Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state’s boating law administrator. “We encourage everyone to give it a try.” With Louisiana recognizing the program’s credibility, other states are likely to follow suit. I wonder how boating safety classes will change in another few years. Hmm…Is there an app for that?