Officials of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) are reminding boaters of the state’s boating safety education requirements. The General Assembly enacted the law in 2007 and it’s being phased in over several years.
- Personal Water Craft (PWC) operators age 20 or younger had to meet the requirements by July 1, 2000.
- Operators age 35 or younger must meet the requirements by July 1, 2010.
- PWC operators age 50 or younger and motorboat operators age 20 or younger must also meet the requirements by July 1, 2011.
- All PWC operators, regardless of age, and motorboat operators age 30 or younger must meet the requirements by July 1, 2012.
- Motorboat operators age 40 or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2013.
- By July 1, 2014, motorboat operators age 45 or younger must meet the requirements by July 1, 2014, while motorboat operators age 50 or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2015.
- By July 1, 2016, all motorboat operators, regardless of age, must meet the requirements.
To take a Virginia approved boating safety course and get your official Virginia Boating Safety Certificate, go to http://boatingbasicsonline.com/content/va/index.php.
Anyone shall considered to be in compliance with the requirements if they meet one or more of the following provisions:
- Completes and passes a boating safety education course that is approved by NASBLA and accepted by the department.
- Passes an equivalency exam.
- Possesses a valid license to operate a vessel to maritime personnel by the United States Coast Guard or a marine certificate issued by the Canadian government or possesses a Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator’s card.
- Possesses a temporary operator’s certificate.
- Possesses a rental or lease agreement from a motorboat rental or leasing business which lists the person as the authorized operator of the motorboat and he/she also has completed the dockside safety check list.
- Operates the motor boat under on-board direct supervision of a person who meets the compliance requirement. Is a non-resident, is temporarily using the waters of Virginia for a period not to exceed 90 days and meets any applicable boating safety education requirements of the state of residency or possesses a Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator’s card.
- Has assumed operation of the motorboat due to the illness or physical impairment of the initial operator and is returning the motorboat to shore in order to provide assistance or care for the operator.
- Is registered as a commercial fisherman pursuant to the Virginia laws or is under the on-board direct supervision of the commercial fisherman while operating the commercial fisherman’s boat.
Additional information on the boating education requirements can be found on line at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating/.