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Boater education program reaches benchmark | Washington State Parks
The Washington State Boating Programs has reached a milestone in its mandatory boater education program, issuing card number 100,000.
To urge boaters to get educated and learn to be safer on the water, the State Parks Boating Programs partnered with the Seattle Seahawks to promote the Washington Boater Education Card. The promotion was to reward the 100,000th boater card recipient with a Seattle Seahawks VIP game package. David Eckols of Seattle is the 100,000th boater card recipient. Mr. Eckols wins four field access passes and four tickets to a 2012 Seahawks game at Century Link Field in Seattle.
Last year, the Boating Programs recorded 17 boating fatalities, the lowest number in ten years. According to Washington State Parks Director, Don Hoch, educated boaters are less likely to be involved in boating accidents than non-educated boaters.
“Since the program started in 2008 we have had an outstanding compliance rate,” says Hoch. “The great news is that we are starting to see a reduction in boating fatalities, property damage and injuries. We hope this trend continues.”
The mandatory education program has been phased in, based on age, since 2008. This year, boaters ages 40 and younger are required to have their boater education card with them when boating in Washington. The card requirement for other age groups will be phased in through 2014. Boaters born before Jan. 1, 1955, are exempt from the law. The boater education card is a one-time requirement and applies only to people operating powerboats with motors greater than 15 horsepower.
To meet the education requirements, boaters can take approved courses in a classroom, online or at home. Once the course is passed, boaters pay $10 for the card, which is good for life. Information is available online at www.boatered.org or call (360) 902-8555.
The Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. The 98-year-old park system will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.
Support state parks by purchasing your Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.