Coast Guard Boater Education Initiative Fails

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Posted by on July 26, 2006 at 06:54:53:

The proposal would have given the agency the authority to require nationwide boater education standards.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LNS) - A Coast Guard request for authority to require mandatory boater education - which could be compared to licensing - for recreational boat operators has failed.

Language that would have allowed the Coast Guard to establish mandatory proficiency standards for recreational vessel operators was deleted from the final version of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006 (H.R. 889) before it passed the House June 27 on a 413-0 vote and went to President Bush for signature.

The proposal would have granted the Coast Guard authority to issue regulations that adopt and enforce state boater education standards within areas of concurrent jurisdiction and apply a federal education standard where no state standard exists.

Currently 44 of 56 states and territories have established some level of operator proficiency requirements, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard said that under the operator proficiency regulations it proposed, adult operators would only be impacted in those jurisdictions where no state regulation exists or in waters subject to federal jurisdiction only.

California presently does not have mandatory boater education requirements. The Department of Boating and Waterways has scheduled two public forums this summer - July 20 in Los Angeles and August 17 in Sacramento - to evaluate interest in developing a recreational boat operator education requirement in California.

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