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#QuickTips - Serious Boat Driving Statistics & The Value of Formal Training

boat captain at helm

The latest Coast Guard published boating accident statistics will shock you. They tell us that there is a serious lack of knowledge when it comes to driving a boat and it is costing lives.

Specifically, in 2022, 74.3% of boat driver deaths, were drivers with no formal boat driving education. For boat drivers who have taken a state certification course, the percentage of deaths drops to 13.3%. And for drivers who have passed a Coast Guard or US Power Squadron course, the percentage drops to 1.2%. There is little doubt that it takes more to drive a boat than many boaters believe and taking a quality driving course is a huge advantage. Formal training pays off with serious dividends.

It is interesting to compare boat driving to other forms of transportation. We would never accept a ride with an unqualified car driver, or a flight with a pilot who had not taken adequate training. So why do so many people eagerly jump at the opportunity to ride in a boat driven by a person who taught themselves how to drive? Given the complexity of driving a boat today, formal hands-on instruction is a must.

Assuming that you don’t want to be reckless, what boating skills should you be sure to acquire before taking passengers in your boat and where can you find them? Almost every American state and all Canadian provinces now have a requirement for boaters to pass a basic accredited course that covers many of the “Rules of the Road."

The problem is that while these basic courses have real value, they do not teach boat handling and the hands on skill of driving a boat varies with each type and size of boat. Therefore my advice would be to ask your local boat dealer if they employ a captain or qualified boat pilot, who could instruct you on driving your own specific boat. Any instructor that you pay to spend a few hours with you in your boat, should have a credible list of applicable qualifications and experience.

And don't forget, there is an entire database of boating tips and information right here on this site that can make you a better boater.

Stay safe.

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1 comentário

Vince Gauci
Vince Gauci
16 de abr.

Great advice

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