Boating

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has begun offering an online boater education course.

The course, which became available Monday at OutdoorNebraska.org/boatereducation, will allow students to take the course wherever and whenever is convenient for them. Game and Parks will continue to offer classroom boater education courses across the state, for those who prefer to learn in a more traditional setting.

In Nebraska, anyone born after Dec. 31, 1985, is required to successfully complete boater education and possess a course certificate while operating a boat or personal watercraft.

Boater education courses teach students how to safely operate a motorized boat while following all rules and regulations. Topics covered include navigation and safe operation, Nebraska laws and emergency preparedness. Nonresidents who have successfully completed a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators-approved boater safety course recognized by another state are allowed to operate a motorboat in Nebraska.

You must be at least 14 years of age to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft in Nebraska.

Boaters are also reminded to take the following safety precautions:

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4Wear a life jacket – Children under age 13 and anybody on a personal watercraft are required by law to wear a United States Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device. People being towed by a boat on skis, a tube, or other similar device also must wear a life jacket.

4Avoid alcohol – Boat operators can become impaired with less alcohol than motor vehicle drivers due to heat and dehydration. Boating Under the Influence is a criminal violation and is enforced actively in Nebraska.

4Have all required safety equipment – This will help boaters be prepared if an emergency occurs. Life jackets, throw cushions, fire extinguishers and bailing devices are required on most boats. For a list of what is required on a boat, check out the 2017 Boating Guide at BoatSafeNebraska.org.

4Be aware of surroundings – The best boat operators constantly are looking around for other boats, personal watercraft, swimmers, stumps and other hazards. Speeds in excess of 5 mph are prohibited if within 30 yards of any other vessel, swimming area or dock.

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