Educated boaters are more likely to be safe 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 19 to 25.

Those who either complete one of AZGFD’s two classroom courses March 18, or an online course during the Spring Aboard campaign, will be entered in a drawing to receive a free watercraft rental generously donated by one of the following businesses:

Phoenix ATV and Jet Ski Rental
Jet Action Rentals in Tempe
Havasu Adventure Company in Lake Havasu City
Laughlin Watercraft Rentals in Bullhead City
Parker Canyon Lake in Elgin

“We thank the businesses that are donating the rentals,” said Josh Hoffman, Boating Safety Education Program coordinator for Arizona Game and Fish. “They’ve been great partners in promoting boating education to help make our waters safer for all watercraft users.”

In 2015 nationwide, 71 percent of the 626 watercraft-related deaths involved a vessel where the operator had never taken a safety course, according to 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. The national campaign, coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), encourages the state’s boating and watercraft users to complete a safety education course.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department 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 free online courses. Below is a list of classroom boating safety courses (Arizona Boater Education Course) scheduled for March:

9 a.m. – 4 p.m. March 18, Apex Arms Facility – Green Building, 2176 McCulloch Blvd. N. Suite 8, Lake Havasu City
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. March 18, Arizona Game and Fish Headquarters, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix

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 aboard 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.

For more information on boating in Arizona or to sign up for a classroom or online safety course, visit www.azgfd.gov/boating (to register for a boating class, click “Boating Safety Education”). To learn more about Spring Aboard, visit www.nasbla.org/spring.

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