Effective today boat operators 40 years old or younger in Virginia are required to complete a boating safety course.
The latest phase of the state’s Boating Safety Education Law kicks in today July 1, requiring all motorboat operators age 40 or younger to carry proof of completion of an approved boating safety education course. All personal watercraft operators and boat operators age 30 or younger have been required to complete a course since July 2012.
The regulations apply to those operating a boat with a motor of 10 horsepower or greater, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The rules do not apply to unpowered vessels such as canoes and kayaks.
Boaters wishing to obtain a certificate of completion can take advantage of classroom courses offered around the area. They can also complete a course online or by mail. Classroom courses typically take a full day to complete. Online courses can be taken over the course of days or weeks, but typically take three hours to complete.
A completion certificate must be carried with the operator while on the water.
To take a course online go to http://boatingbasicsonline.com
The safety course requirement will eventually affect all boaters. Boaters younger than 45 must complete a course before July 1, 2014, and those younger than 50 by July 1, 2015. All boaters, regardless of age, must complete a course before July 1, 2016.
For more information, visit http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating.