There are plenty of reasons why everyone should take a boating safety course before renting a boat, but these five are critical.
If you’re thinking about renting a boat, the first thing we’d like to say is: good move! Boat rentals are a great way to break yourself into boating, experiment with different types and styles of boats before choosing one for yourself, and discover what sorts of boating activities get you and your family smiling. And most importantly, it’s a great way to have fun. We do need to note, however, that before renting a boat taking a boating safety course is a good move. Why? Let us count the ways.
- It may be the law. Every state has different rules and regulations regarding the requirements for running a boat (personal watercraft included), and many of them require taking a course to obtain a boating license and/or safety certificate. How will you know what’s required in your state? That’s easy — just check out our State Boating Laws, Rules, & Regulations Map.
- Taking a boating safety course greatly improves your safety margin afloat. True, statistically speaking, driving a boat is far safer than driving a car in the first place. And besides, you can learn a lot about boating safety simply by reading our Boating Safety Guide. Still, just about everyone would agree that safer boating is better boating, and taking a boater safety course is an excellent way to learn about many common mishaps and how to avoid them.
- With the confidence you’ll have after taking a boating course, you’re likely to go farther, stay out longer, and enjoy more diverse boating activities. Many people feel a bit stressed before they become accustomed to captaining a boat, and as a result, may hold back on some of the experiences they’d like to have or the distances they’d like to travel. Plus, lots of new boaters worry about things like how to anchor a boat or boat docking. Knowing that you’ve educated yourself you’ll feel more confident behind the helm. And as a result, you’ll feel much more prepared to try out new things and head for new places as you leave all that stress in your wake.
- If you take more advanced courses, it can expand the pool of boats available for you to rent. Better training will allow you to handle larger, more complex boats. And in some cases, education and/or experience may be a prerequisite for boat rentals over a certain size or complexity level. Even if it isn’t mandatory, what good is it to rent a boat with equipment you my not know how to use? Additional education will help you make the most out of the rental and maximize your enjoyment afloat.
- Often, it’s free. This does depend on the type of course you want to take, and more advanced or in-person classes may come at a price. However, there are many courses that you can take online which don’t cost a dime. In many cases these are the same courses or the same types of courses you may need to take to get a boating license if your state requires one.