The Barry County Sheriff’s Office is urging boaters to enroll in a boating education course this spring. A free class will be offered June 29 at Shady Shores Resort at Gun Lake. To sign up or for more information, call the sheriff's department at 269-948-4805. A boating safety course provides critical boating knowledge that anyone who plans to get out on the water should have, and better prepares boaters for the risks they may face while boating.
U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that, of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 81 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.
“Education is the key to having a safe and enjoyable day on the water,” said Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf. “Even though the operator has the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the vessel, its crew and passengers, everyone who plans to be onboard should consider taking a boating safety course to prepare for their time on the water.
“If a boater has taken a boating safety education course the likelihood of their time spent on the water being a safe and enjoyable experience is much greater.”
The sheriff’s office is partnering with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators to inform boaters about the benefits and necessity of taking a boating education course.
In Michigan, those born on or after July 1, 1996, may legally operate a boat only if they have been issued a boating safety certificate and have it on board. Those born before July 1, 1996, may legally operate a boat without restrictions. Those at least 16 years of age and born after Dec. 31, 1978, may legally operate a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators National only if they have obtained a boating safety certificate.