When someone says the word “Florida,” several images pop into the mind—amusement parks, exciting nightlife, and sandy beaches. But one of the other things that make Florida such a wonderful tourist destination is the active lifestyle that it offers for those who love outdoor activities such as fishing and boating. Unfortunately, with the popularity of boating also comes a higher probability for boating accidents. That is why it is so important to educate yourself about how to stay safe when you are on the water.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is taking a pro-active stance on preventing boating accidents. For years, they have offered a class on how to be safe on the water. But now, they are stepping into the 21st century by offering this course for anyone to take online. The curriculum for this course, entitled “How to Be Boat Smart – Florida Boating Safety Course” was put together by a variety of safety agencies and boating experts such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. The curriculum covers a wide range of topics such as:
- How to handle and maneuver your boat;
- How to stay safe on the water;
- How to read and understand the weather;
- Boat operation;
- Boat etiquette; and
- Boating rules and laws.
In order to make the course more accessible and easy to understand, the website offers an online boater education study guide complete with safety instructions and hundreds of detailed illustrations. The website is optimized for multi-media files that show video of boat operators as well as interactive animations on everything from how to handle a boating emergency and how to follow the water traffic laws to how to tie boating knots.
What makes this course so special and helpful, besides the obvious fact that it can make you safer when boating, is the fact that the class can save you money. Many insurance companies offer discounts on boating insurance after the completion of the course. (This is similar to the discounts on auto insurance for those who complete a defensive driving course.) Since the cost of the course is only $29.50, you can see that it makes financial sense to take the course as well. And if you are one of those who has “test anxiety,” there is no need to worry. Each unit module can be retaken until you pass with a score of 70 or higher. (You can also retake the final exam, for which you must pass with an 80 or higher, as many times as you need.) Once you finish the course, you can print a temporary permit to allow you to legally operate a boat in Florida while you wait on your full card in the mail.
Florida is now making it easier than ever to stay safe while enjoying the sun on the state’s waterways. The course is designed to educate while also giving you multiple opportunities to master the information. And, taking the course does not only keep you safe, but it can also save you money in the long run.
Study and Pass the Florida Boater Safety Course
The course is broken into six online units you can complete at your own pace. They are free to use, designed to improve your boating skills and prepare you for the Certification Exam. They are:
- Before Getting Underway
- Getting Out on the Water
- Navigation and Safe Operation
- Florida’s Legal Requirements of Boating
- Boating Emergencies
- Enjoying Water Sports
You must score 70% or greater on the unit quiz before you can advance to the next unit. If you don’t pass a unit quiz, no worries. Just study the unit again and retake the quiz until you pass.
After completing and passing all six unit quizzes, you’re ready to take the Florida Certification Exam. A score of 80% or greater means you’ve passed. You can retake the exam as many times as you need until you receive a passing grade.
- Pay and Print Your Temporary Certificate
- After passing and paying the $29.50 course fee, you can print out a temporary certificate. This is your temporary operating permit to operate legally on Florida waters while you wait for your permanent card.
- Receive Your Boater Education Card in the Mail
In 3 to 4 weeks, your lifetime Florida Boating Safety Education I.D. Card should arrive in the mail. Until it arrives, use your Temporary Boater Education Certificate while on the water.
Both the practice exam and the Certification Exam cover all the course material and will assess your knowledge of boating rules on the water. Click HERE for more information.
Updated: April 3, 2017
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