Get educated before spring boating season begins |

Get educated before spring boating season begins

Special to the Sun
Local resident Hunter Dawson and friends took their boat out on March 14 on Pyramid Lake to take advantage of recent spring-like weather.
Courtesy Hunter Dawson |

CARSON CITY — As part of the “Spring Aboard-Take a Boating Education Course” campaign, the Nevada Department of Wildlife is encouraging boaters to get educated on boater safety.

Many course providers are offering discounts or other incentives for students who enroll or complete a boating safety education course.

Developed by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and produced under a grant administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, the annual “Spring Aboard” campaign encourages boaters to prepare for the boating season by enrolling in a boating education course.

“Our boating accident investigations show that most people who get in a boating accident have not taken a boating education course,” said Game Warden Captain David Pfiffner, Nevada’s boating law administrator. “It’s common sense that people who know how to boat do it much safer.”

Some boaters are required to take a course. Nevada boaters born on or after Jan. 1, 1983, who operate a motorboat of more than 15 horsepower on interstate waters must complete a boating education course.

Nevada also requires nonresidents to meet the education requirement for their home state, but even with requirements in place, many boaters never complete a course.

“Some people aren’t required to have it, and even some who are required to complete a course don’t know it. That’s why we push so hard this time of year to get people into courses,” said Pfiffner.

U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents in which the level of operator education was known, 80 percent of boating deaths are due to the boat operator having never received boating education instruction.

Locally, boaters who want to launch vessels on Lake Tahoe or other regional lakes have multiple options, from classroom courses offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, correspondence courses offered by NDOW, and online course offerings available anytime day or night.

Boaters can visit to find a course that works for them. NDOW has also created a podcast about the Spring Aboard campaign that can be heard at

This article was provided by the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Visit to learn more.

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