I agree. The test here in WA, as they are phasing in operators licenses, is a joke. Yes you can cheat (online versions). Just look up the answers on another site while you take the test.
No it won't make you a better boater. Sure it has some of the requiste standing vessel/right of way questions and a few other boating etiquette questions, but being a coastal state there's alot of navigational questions as well. I didn't read thru the entire course befrore taking the test and I missed passing by 1 question the first time without cheating.
2nd time I passed no problem but had to look up a few open water nav questions like even/odd number/can bouys in ocean channels/shipping lanes.
Missed a bunch of open water nav questions and dumb ones like "What is the best way to roll over a flipped PWC?"
I answered from either side....WRONG. Apparently they have a sticker on the BOTTOM of the hull that says which direction to roll it! Last PWC I had had no stickers!
Missed another one "What are the effects of alchohol on the water vs. on land?"
I answered the same, no diff.....WRONG. Apparently alchohol has a far greater effect on a person in a boat than on the beach! That's a bullch!t question. Your blood alky level is no higher for the same consumption if you're standing on the boat ramp or in the boat!
Bottom line, it's a step in the right direction, but like cars there really needs to be a driving test. You should be able to back a trailer around a corner, have your boat off the trailer and away form the dock in well under 5min and then pass an actual boat driving test with hazards present (other boaters, water hazards, keep from filling the boat up in rough water, pull riders, etc).
That would be waaaay difficult and costly as well and I for one am not for having to do all that crap to tbe able to take my boat to the lake.