In my quest to embrace the boating lifestyle and become an official boating family, I decided that we would be proactive and obtain our boater safety cards and start to prepare for the eventual purchase of a new Sea-Doo boat or watercraft. Plus, my 15 and 17-year-old sons are thoroughly enjoying our friends’ new Sea-Doo WAKE 155 watercraft (as often as they can) and I want to ensure that they are aware of the marine environment and are safe, responsible, and aware boaters.
In the state of Florida you can legally ride a Sea-Doo personal watercraft at 14 (check you local laws as every district varies)….something that they regularly remind me when requiring them to take a boater safety course! I don’t know if you remember yourself as a teenager, but I am sure you remember that you knew everything (as they think they do)! As a parent, I will also, eventually, allow them to take the boat out on their own and I want to ensure that they posses the proper skills and boating etiquette and regulations knowledge.
I started taking my Boater Education course courtesy of BoatUs.org. I began my search by visiting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They have an excellent website that includes boating information, a boat ramp finder, information on licensing, permitting and much more. Through MyFWC, I found multiple boater safety courses and decided to enroll in an e-learning course. One of the courses that they offer is an online 3-hour boater safety and education course. It is the only free Online Boating Safety Course — which is a great price! They offer courses for every state in the US, so if you are looking to take a similar course, it is a great place to start.
This course covers everything from Navigation Aids and Emergency situations to rules of the road to safety and protecting the marine environment. It is a 3-hour timed course. A benefit is that you do not have to take the entire course in one sitting. You can start and stop and save the course at your leisure. Trying to find a solid 3-hour timeframe in between school, work, sports, homework…can be a challenge. You are tested at the end of each chapter and then are required to take a 75 question final exam. Upon passing, you can print a certificate of completion and finally, on your way to becoming an aware and educated (beginning) boater.
I am in the process of taking this course and have completed chapter 1. In chapter 1, I learned about Boats and the Marine Environment that included everything from terminology (port, starboard, gunwales, etc.) to sewage rules and regulations and much more.
SHE DOO is actually Mrs. JA and she is indeed a full-time, working mom of three and is quickly being immersed into the boating life. She will be taking an everyday consumer approach to the entire boat buying process. SHE DOO will be a ongoing segment at OnBoard taking you with her along the journey as she progresses through the process of looking for the right boat, purchasing the right boat, learning the proper boating procedures and operations, real life experiences on the water with her family and everything else there is to know about making the most out of the boating experience and the Sea-Doo LIFE. Her immediate thoughts are how to entertain her 17, 15 and 10 year olds and friends as she sees them being on the water as a much better alternative than them being on the streets.