LA law changes age requirement for boating safety courses

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A new Louisiana boating law is forcing boaters born after a certain date to take a safety boating course before operating a motorboat in excess of ten horsepower.

Previously, only persons born after January 1, 1988, were required to take a boating safety course. Due to this change in the law, persons born between January 1, 1984, and January 1, 1988, have until July 1, 2010, to complete a course successfully.

"People have to understand that they are legally responsible for anything that happens," said Stan Chapman, a squadron educational officer with The Lake Charles Sail & Power Squadron.

Chapman said he feels it is necessary to change the age requirement in the law.

"Some of the wave runners for example, they'll run up to 60 miles an hour," said Chapman. "That's like a missile out there."

The Lake Charles Sail and Power Squadron in Lake Charles hosted a one-day boating safety course on Saturday for young boaters who need to obtain their state certificate.

Chapman said it is always an informative course that educates them in all the basic areas of boating safety.

"At the end of the course there is a multiple choice test with 50 questions and they have to get at least 80 percent in order to qualify," said Chapman.

Andrew Perry, 17, of Sulphur has already taken the class and passed the test for his certificate.

Perry said he feels the new change in legislation is good as it taught him a lot of boating safety tips he was not aware of before.

"It will keep yourself safe, your passengers safe and everyone else in the water safe," said Perry.

All persons within the age range that requires them to obtain a state certificate before hitting the water have until July 1st to take the test.

For more information on how to obtain a state certificate for boating you can call Ship to Shore at (337) 474-0730.

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