The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is now offering a new online boating safety course provided by the BoatUS Foundation.
The new online course is approved by LDWF and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and allows Louisiana boaters to get their safe boating certification at no cost in the comfort of their own home.
"The department wants to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to get their boating safety certification," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state's boating law administrator. "Since the course is free and people can take it at home, we want to encourage everybody to give it a try even those that don't need their certification. This free online course will teach new boaters how to become safer on the water and old boaters some new tips."
Louisiana boaters born after Jan. 1, 1984 must complete a NASBLA approved boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.
LDWF initiated the state's boating education program in 2003 and has certified over 40,000 boaters during that time.
Studies have shown that states with a mandatory boating education program have fewer boating incidents that result in fatalities than states that have no boating education program. States with a boating education program for more than 20 years had 3.67 fatalities per 100,000 registered boats, and states with no boating education program had 6.61 fatalities per 100,000 boats.
With the free online course, those looking to get certified now have three options to choose from: the traditional classroom course taught in one day, the free online course from BoatUS.org and an online course for a small fee from boat-ed.com.
The free online course and exam is recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard as exceeding the minimum requirements for the National Recreational Boating Safety Program.
"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 BoatUS Foundation Director of Boating Safety Chris Edmonston. "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."
Upon successful completion of the course, boaters print out their own certificate of completion as proof of boater education.
About the BoatUS Foundation:
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by the half million members of BoatUS, it provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all.