The Importance of Boating Safety Training

By Captain Stephan Reckie

With spring right around the corner, as you get your boat ready for the season, this is a great time to take a boating safety class. I’ve included information about two local classes that I am offering in May with special pricing for SSCT readers.

By law, many recreational boaters in Washington must complete a boating safety course and carry a Washington State Boater Education Card. Whether you cruise, sail, kayak, fish, or do yoga on a stand-up paddleboard, you are always responsible for knowing the laws and basics of boating safety.

Reasons for boating safety training

Preventing Accidents: The most crucial reason to take a boating safety training class is to prevent accidents. A boating safety class can teach you the necessary skills to avoid accidents, navigate difficult conditions, respond to emergencies, and correctly use safety equipment. Boating can be dangerous and if not done properly can cause accidents that result in injury or death.

Understanding Boating Regulations: Boating safety training classes teach you about the regulations and laws that govern boating in your area. This can include information about speed limits, wake zones, and no-wake zones, as well as requirements for safety equipment, navigation lights, and more.

Learning Basic Boating Skills: Even if you have experience with boating, a safety training class can help you hone your basic boating and trailering skills. This can include learning how to properly dock and launch a boat, anchor, and maneuver in tight spaces.

Gaining Confidence: If you’re new to boating, taking a safety training class can give you the confidence to get out on the water. By learning about safety procedures, boating regulations, and basic boating skills, you can feel more comfortable and prepared when you take your boat out on the water.

A boating safety training class can help ensure that you and your passengers stay safe while enjoying your time on the water. It can also help you avoid fines and other penalties for violating boating regulations and give you the skills and knowledge to make the most of your boating experience.

Importance of obtaining boating license, boater education certificate

Legal Requirement: In Washington state, having a boating license or boater education certificate is a legal requirement under certain conditions. Just like you need a driver’s license to operate a car legally, you may need a boating license to operate a boat legally. Failing to comply with these laws can result in fines or other penalties. By law in Washington, you are required to carry a Boater Education Card if you fit the following criteria: you were born after Jan. 1, 1955, you operate a vessel with a 15-horsepower (or greater) motor, and you are 12 years of age or older.

Safety: A boating license ensures that the boat operator understands boating safety rules and regulations. This can include knowledge of navigational rules, weather conditions, safety equipment, and emergency procedures. Requiring boaters to obtain a license helps ensure that everyone on the water is operating their boat safely while understanding the rules and regulations.

Insurance: Sometimes, having a boating license can lower your insurance rates. This is because insurance companies view licensed boaters as less of a risk since they have demonstrated a basic understanding of boating safety rules and regulations.

Two upcoming safety classes:

This spring, I plan to teach two fun and interactive boating safety classes.

May 13, 1-5 p.m. at Stevens Fire District 1 Station 8, 5972 Hwy 291 in Suncrest.

May 20, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Stevens Fire District 1 Station 2, 3962 Hwy 292 in Loon Lake.

The cost for each class will be discounted from $30 to $25 if you email me at and mention the South Stevens County Times. If you want to bring a friend, the cost will be further reduced to $20 each.

At the end of the class, there is a short mandatory exam. Upon successfully completing the exam, you will receive a U.S.C.G. Auxiliary Certificate and a Wallet Card. You can then submit a Boater Education Card Application and a copy of this certificate along with a check or money order to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission to apply for the Card.

More information on the Washington Boating Education Card can be found at

There are also classes that are offered online, but I hope that you can attend one of my upcoming onsite classes. If you have questions about the classes or boating safety, please email me at

I wish you all the safest wishes for our upcoming boating season!