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Old     (wakeboardnchica)      Join Date: Oct 2005       03-15-2009, 9:11 PM Reply   
Hey guys! So I'm writing an argument paper on why the state of Virginia should require everyone to get a boating license before being able to operate a boat, and I could really use your input.

I would love to hear your pros and cons to a mandatory license and how you think states could make the process of getting a license more like getting your drivers license.

Old     (mike2001)      Join Date: Feb 2008       03-15-2009, 9:20 PM Reply   
Wow, VA doesn't require any sort of license to operate a boat?

I agree it should be required and also more difficult to get where it already is required.

You could probably support your argument w/ statiscs on boating/PWC related deaths.
Old     (ferral)      Join Date: Sep 2007       03-15-2009, 9:29 PM Reply   
I think it is a good idea to have some sort of basic certification required. In many states, there is no requirement to know anything about how to properly handle a boat, and those people are out there sharing the water with us. Personally, I think some kind of class on basic boat safety and operation would be a good requirement. And the fees that would be involved in taking the class/test could be used to fund things like lake and river cleanup and ramp maintenance.
Old     (jward10)      Join Date: Mar 2007       03-15-2009, 10:29 PM Reply   
You should do some research in your area and state on how many accidents and deaths have been boating related. You could even take it a step further and compare that to vehicle accidents and deaths. Make your case on how many of these and future accidents may have been avoided had there been some kind of license proving the boater has some kind of knowledge or skill on the water. Just an idea.
Old     (johndk)      Join Date: Aug 2008       03-15-2009, 11:46 PM Reply   
VA does have a new boating law (

1. PWC operators 20 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2009;
2. PWC operators 35 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2010;
3. PWC operators 50 years of age or younger and motorboat operators 20 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2011;
4. All PWC operators, regardless of age, and motorboat operators 30 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2012;
5. Motorboat operators 40 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2013;
6. Motorboat operators 45 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2014;
7. Motorboat operators 50 years of age or younger shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2015;
8. All motorboat operators,regardless of age,shall meet the requirements by July 1, 2016.

You can get certified online though, such as at

(Message edited by johndk on March 15, 2009)
Old     (saceone)      Join Date: Jan 2009       03-16-2009, 9:13 AM Reply   
I don't know about you guys(and girl) but up here in Cold Ass Québec, I passed my boating license online....aka youcancheatalot. I still think we should get a real driving test along with the usual online test...especially in my area where we have to deal with seaway buoys, shallow water indicators and all that jazz...also, cruising next to a 500ft cargo boat is not cool.
Old     (dmonte3283)      Join Date: Jun 2003       03-16-2009, 10:13 AM Reply   
Here is my problem with our boating certification laws here in Connecticut, they require that you take a class and pass the test, thats it... No driving proficiency exam, no making sure someone knows how to safely navigate the waters.
I think there should be laws for obtaining a license just like a vehicle for boating.
Old     (nelson)      Join Date: Jan 2009       03-16-2009, 11:29 AM Reply   
Oregon started one several years ago and it is still really a joke. I have never been asked for mine ever during a boat inspection. When I took mine it had one question the even related to driving a boat on a lake the rest was geared towards personal watercraft and running rivers with commercial boat traffic. You can take it online and look up every answer you need. So needless to say we still have every idiot on the water that has no idea on how things work, But they have a boating certificate! I am sure all the WW crew members know how things work on the water and the majority of the problems and accidents that do happen are from Joe Blow with his Bayliner and tubes doing circles 20 feet off the boat launch.
Old     (wakeboardnchica)      Join Date: Oct 2005       03-16-2009, 2:52 PM Reply   
thanks guys, this is going to help me out a lot.

i had to take an 8 hour one day class to get my boating license and they give you an open book test and tell you to take it until you pass it.
Old     (skate_or_die)      Join Date: Mar 2008       03-16-2009, 9:22 PM Reply   
boating license are a bad idea. those who give up freedom for little safety deserve neither
Old     (lovin_the_wake)      Join Date: Jul 2007       03-17-2009, 9:41 AM Reply   
I'm all for it our lake is full of dumbass people that have no business operating any kind of vessel
Old     (helix_rider)      Join Date: Mar 2003       03-17-2009, 10:20 AM Reply   
A 'con' argument would be to look at all the terrible drivers out there, and realize that they too passed their driving test. Just because you get a piece of paper saying you theoretically understand driving does not translate into actual good driving (although in my opinion it at least keeps the worst 5% off of our roads). Just don't think its a fix for the idiots you currently encounter on your lake :-(
Old     (cpizzle)      Join Date: Sep 2007       03-17-2009, 12:44 PM Reply   
Def require licenses!!! I would happily pay $100 for a real, no sh!# qualification that would weed out all the idiots. Have the licenses checked every time you have to go pay your fee to launch your boat.
Old     (nwarhol1105)      Join Date: Oct 2008       03-17-2009, 1:14 PM Reply   
I'm all for a license. There is no margin for error with safety on the water. When I was 12, I went through a DNR course and test, which allowed me to operate any vessel or PWC with adult supervision or someone over 21 on board.

I wish everyone had to pass some sort of qualification and prove that they can back a boat down a ramp with ease before they are allowed to hit the water.
Old     (bmartin)      Join Date: Jan 2007       03-17-2009, 2:56 PM Reply   
I think we live in a world with too many regs as it is and every group wants to add some more. Licenses would only weed out the completely clueless unless you started doing water testing which would add a lot of costs and impracticalities. I don't think there are that many reckless acts on my lake and would rather toss the few idiots into the pokey instead of making everyone going to their local DNR or motor vehicle office to get some license.

For those of you clammering to send your state or county office more money and more control over your life, just be careful of what you ask for.
Old     (wakeboardnchica)      Join Date: Oct 2005       03-18-2009, 6:42 PM Reply   
It must be nice to board at your lake bmartin because at every lake i've ever been to, it's the completely clueless people that cause a lot of the accidents.Take for example the people who think its ok to just park their boat in the middle of a busy cove and swim.

I think the biggest problem is that people just aren't aware at how dangerous boating is. They view going to the lake and boating as leisurly fun activities that don't require any training.

And I don't know about anywhere else, but it's free to get your boaters license in VA.
Old     (power_rider)      Join Date: Feb 2007       03-18-2009, 7:01 PM Reply   
In Ohio it is that anyone born after 1986 i think needs a license. I agree 100 percent that you need some prior knowledge to opperate a boat. For example, I have my license and never do anything put people in danger. On the other had there was a boat out last year and they were surfing off of a stern drive boat... they obviously didnt have their license.
Old     (wakeboardern1)      Join Date: Aug 2007       03-18-2009, 7:52 PM Reply   
So, I have lived at Smith Mountain Lake in VA for almost 13 years now. Basically over half of my life has been spent around water. I've been riding jetskis and driving boats for 6-1/2 years. I sat through a Coast Guard boating safety course my parents took when I was 9 or 10. I drive jetski's courteously and safely. However, now, after 6 years of doing this stuff, I have to pay for a boating license.

The worst part about this is that it doesn't punish all of the idiot out of staters that come to the area for weekends and summer trips and cause the problems, it punishes us regular boaters who are well aware of the laws and safety guidelines in regards to a boat.

Yes, I am for boating licenses, but lets face it people, how common are wrecks among out of state renters (who don't have to have the license, I don't see a practical way of enforcing it), compared to wrecks by people who live on the lake? Personally, I don't believe that I should have to pay the government a bunch of money to take their safety course so that I can relearn everything that I already know.
Old     (deltawake)      Join Date: Sep 2004       03-18-2009, 8:55 PM Reply   
I would be much happier with more DUI enforcement on the water.
Many of the on the water problems are due to overuse of alcohol. DUI checkpoints at strategic spots on the Delta would be great IMO.
Old     (dxii)      Join Date: Jan 2009       03-18-2009, 9:21 PM Reply   
Requiring licenses will not weed out the idiots. It will just make everyone else jump through more hoops to enjoy boating. Think about it. They require a license to drive. Do you know anyone who has not been able to pass the test? I would imagine that any feasible boat driving test will be much simpler than a driving test and probably won't even include a practical exam. The idiots will pass the test and then continue to act like idiots on the lake. Passing another stupid law is never the answer.
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       03-18-2009, 9:26 PM Reply   
Most of the unsafe driving I see on the water is the result of a lack of knowledge about boat safety and lake etiquette, not necessarily people ignoring the rules on purpose. Although a test would be easy, it would force potential licensees to look through a manual and gain some knowledge prior to going out on the water. For example, most boat drivers have no clue that there is a pattern for driving on most lakes here in California. That's something that would be picked up by taking a very easy test.

Let's face it, the test for driving a car is pretty easy too, but at least it makes sure you know the basic rules of the road. At least the worst driver out there knows which side of the road to drive on!


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