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Going boating? State now requires ‘card’

boating cardSEATTLE — If you’re thinking of hitting the open water — and you’re over the age of 12 or under the age of 50 — the state requires you have a Washington State Boater Education card.

There is a test involved — you can read about it here — and it will cost you, as well. The course fee is $29.50 and the required lifetime card is $10.50.

You can take the test online, which will take you about 4-6 hours to work your way through the online course.

The state has been phasing in the boating card requirements — next year anyone 59 and younger who is boating will be required to have the card.

12 comments

  • Jeff

    Can you clarify in your article what you mean by "boating"? The way your article reads it sounds like anyone getting on a boat, whether driving or riding, is required to get this. You should be more specific if it is just needed to operate a boat.

  • pete1427

    Jeff
    After a Google search, I found that it is a card for the operator of the vessel
    and not a requirement for passengers.
    It is required for powered vessels with over 15HP, but not for canoes, rowboats,
    non powered sailboats or other non powered watercraft.
    It is required to operate personal watercraft like jet-skis.
    Although not specified, one might conclude that the operator of a sailboat with
    an auxiliary motor of less than 15HP would also be exempt.
    I am 68 and my wife is 61, so for now there is no requirement for us to have
    the card. I will have to have my daughter (24) take the test so she can legally
    operate our vessel on vacation trips. It is always nice to have a relief driver
    on long trips in a boat, just as it is for a cross country car trip.
    After scanning through their boat safety training book, it is very basic.
    In my opinion it is too basic.
    If one really desires to learn about boating, then I recommend contacting
    the nearest United States Coast Guard Auxiliary to you regarding their
    assorted classes.

    To me, it is simply just one more form of taxation for an already overtaxed
    populace.

  • David

    The test is free at http://www.boatus.org/onlinecourse/default.asp you only have to pay 10 dollars to the Park service by mail for the license after passing. I'm 51 but have had mine for 2 years. This law is a good Idea but I see it was set up for someone to make a profit and it's sure not our State or Parks? So kindly let people know they don't have to make some legislature's friend rich! And why the heck don't people over the age of 55 have to take it?? That's about as stupid and as elitist as Tacoma's Law saying you can not launch a boat with Alcohol unless it's a yacht at point defiance!

    • pete1427

      At 68 years of age, I've been boating for about 60 years. I have taken numerous
      USCG Aux. courses during my lifetime, and have an extensive knowledge of
      marine electronics (FCC Licensed with radar endorsement). Currently, I and
      my wife are exempt from this tax (that is actually what it is) that allows us to
      ply our waterways. I already pay taxes for the WA tags for two boats, two
      boat trailers, and my tow vehicle (a Suburban).
      They are moving the age requirement for this up slowly, but 2014 after almost
      all power boaters, including Senior citizens like the wife and I, will be required
      to have the card.
      One of the boats is a 17' shallow draft 50hp O/B runabout that allows us to go
      from Lake Washington almost to Lake Sammamish. It is a good lake boat,
      but one could easily get in trouble in rough seas in the sound it the weather
      suddenly turns nasty (it has low gunnels).
      Our other boat is a 21'6'' cuddy cabin with a V bottom and a 350HP V8 I/O with
      fresh water cooling and is suitable for use in the sound, straights and pacific
      coastal cruising. It is a good rough water vessel but like any vessel, is more
      fun in smoother waters.
      The larger boats deeper draft makes in useless for the Sammamish Slough,
      or other shallow waterways that the runabout can easily pass through.
      .Hence two boats.
      Have fun boating, and stay safe.

      • David

        pete you will not have to get one under the new law. My point is that the State is costing it's self money and setting a few businesses up to make money-this isn't about safety it's about lining pockets.As for being 68 and a better boater you should have no problem passing this-Laws are meant to be followed by everyone. If the legislature's were worried about pissing off a certain group of voters and friends then they should have never implemented this until it treated us all as equals. By the way I passed this test without studying and I'm only 51 ;)

        • pete1427

          If I understand the information on the Washington Parks site
          correctly, almost all pleasure boat operators, irrespective of
          age will be required to have this card after 2014.
          Operators of vessels with less than 15HP would still be exempt.
          It would appear that my wife and I will need the card to operate
          our boats during the 2015 boating season and all subsequent
          years.
          http://www.parks.wa.gov/boating/boatered
          then check the FAQ section.

    • David

      That's all in fun pete-I have 7 siblings that don't have to take this test because of age- hell if I would ever let any of them drive my boat :) I believe you when you say you have experience but that doesn't mean my brothers and sisters do :) D you want to share the waters with them-because that's what could happen LOL!.

  • David

    I'd sure like to know who the State decided to make rich off of this-why don't you do some informed reporting and find out for us???

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