Effective July 1, the Virginia Boating Safety Education Compliance Requirement law requires all persons age 14 and older that operate a personal watercraft (PWC) and persons age 40 and below operating boats with motors of 10 hp or greater must have successfully completed a boating safety course approved/accepted by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF). No person under the age of 14 may operate a PWC. Boaters stopped by law enforcement and found not in compliance with the law may be subject to a $100 fine.
In an effort to make it easier for boaters to meet the requirement, VDGIF, with the full cooperation and support of the Louisa and Spotsylvania Departments of Parks and Recreation will offer a free boating safety course once a month, March through October 2013. The date and location of the March courses will be March 9 at the Betty J. Queen Intergenerational Center, 522 Industrial Drive, Louisa; and March 30 at the Marshall Center, 8800 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania.
Each course will begin at 8 a.m. and conclude circa 5 p.m. Pre-registration is required. Students successfully completing the course will be issued a Virginia Boating Safety Card and their name posted in the applicable VDGIF database.
Persons planning to attend a course are encouraged to review a copy of the 2013 Virginia Freshwater Fishing & Watercraft Owner’s Guide. A copy of the guide is often available at most marinas and stores selling boating and fishing supplies around Lake Anna. A copy of the Guide can also be obtained online at www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/regulations/2013-fishing-regulations.pdf
The course, Boat Virginia, is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, is recognized by the US Coast Guard and meets all of the Commonwealth of Virginia mandatory boating safety education compliance requirements enacted by the state legislature in 2007. Boaters who successfully complete a course are encouraged to contact their boat insurance company to determine if they are eligible for a reduction in the premium.
Boaters unable to attend one of the above courses are encouraged to check out the VDGIF website at www.dgif.virginia.gov for various ways that individuals can take a boating safety course, including classroom, home study and online. Some have an associated cost, while others are free. Play it safe and find the one that suits you best.
Persons seeking more information or wanting to register for either of the courses cited above should contact Dave Aitken at (540) 894-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.