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Spring Aboard and complete safety course for chance at free watercraft rental

Posted March 14, 2018

PHOENIX – Safe boaters are educated boaters, that’s why the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is encouraging all watergoers to take a boating safety course during the national Spring Aboard campaign March 18-24.

Those who complete one of AZGFD’s two free classroom courses March 17 or an online course during the Spring Aboard campaign will be entered in a drawing to receive one of two free watercraft rentals generously donated by one of the following businesses:

“This is an exciting time of year for our boating community,” said Josh Hoffman, AZGFD Boating Safety Education program coordinator.” Another great boating season is on the horizon and everyone is looking forward to when they can get out on the water. Before doing so, people should make sure they are prepared by taking a boating safety course.”

Spring Aboard is a national campaign coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) to encourage the state’s boating and watercraft users to complete a safety education course.

AZGFD offers free monthly classroom courses in Phoenix and Lake Havasu City to provide water users the information and tips needed to stay safe while on the water. The department also offers pay and fee online courses.

For more information on boating safety or to register for an in-person or online course, visit www.azgfd.gov/boating and click on “Boating Safety Education.” Below is a list of boating safety courses scheduled for March:

Courses cover basic skills needed to safely operate a boat or personal watercraft, trailering your vessel, navigational rules, buoys, anchoring, legal requirements, boating emergencies, watersports and paddling. In addition, most insurance companies offer a discount on boat or watercraft insurance rates for completing a course.

The department also reminds watercraft users that all boats, including paddleboards, must have a wearable life jacket for every passenger onboard and those 12 years old and younger must wear a life jacket at all times, under state law. Users should also check to make sure a life jacket fits properly by ensuring there is no excess room above the openings of the jacket and that it does not ride up over the chin or face.

In 2016 nationwide, nearly 40 percent of the 701 watercraft-related deaths involved a vessel where the operator had never taken a safety course, according to the latest U.S. Coast Guard statistics. It’s with that statistic in mind that NASBLA developed and produced Spring Aboard, utilizing a grant from the U.S. Coast Guard.

For more information on boating in Arizona or to sign up for a safety course, visit www.azgfd.gov/boating. To learn more about Spring Aboard, visit www.nasbla.org/spring.

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