Skippers must be on their toes all the time behind the steering wheel at all times. But, first, you must become a certified skipper by obtaining a boater education certification. If you reside in one of the 36 states that require boaters to carry the certification. There are currently 40 US states with boat education requirements for being a skipper (operator). Research the boating education requirements in the state you reside in and other states you plan to operate a boat in.
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The online boater education certification is accepted in some US states. Depending on your age, you may not be required to obtain a boat education certification to legally operate a watercraft. Learn more by reading the content provided in the article below.
What Is A PWC?
PWC is an acronym that refers to “Personal Watercraft,” a compact marine vessel that relies solely on an inboard jet drive as a propulsion source A PWC permits the operator(s) to sit, stand, or kneel instead of being situated on the inside.
Vessels that rely on an inboard jet drive come in various sizes, allowing them to be utilized for commercial and recreational purposes. Only the recreational jet-propelled vessel is referred to as a PWC. The US Coast Guard recognizes the PWC as an “inboard vessel” under 16 feet long.
PWCs are subject to Coast Guard regulations and requirements like other vessels. However, PWCs have their own laws as well.
Taking A State Boater Education Course – What You Need To Know!
Most state boat education courses last about three hours that can be completed in one, two, three, four, or more settings to meet your schedule. The test time varies, depending on the student’s knowledge of their state’s PWC regulations.
To the available practice tests. This will help prepare you for the exam and increase your odds of achieving a passing grade.
Example Question: What Is A HIN – Where Is The HIN Located?
One question that is oftentimes included in the boating license certification exam in regards to a series of numbers similar to those found in a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Watercraft have a Hull Identification Number (HIN), which works in the same manner as a VIN. Every vessel has a HIN just like a vehicle. The Coast Guard has the authority to run the HIN to determine if a vessel has been reported stolen.
The HIN must be affixed to the exterior right side of the vessel, known as “starboard”.
Recreational Boating Etiquette
Marine boater courtesy is extremely important. In fact, it is just as important as water safety. A boat educational course touches on both topics because they play a major role in keeping boaters and their passengers safe and content.
Unlike commercial boating, recreational boating is about family and friends. Of course, it is easy to get caught up in the fun and forget about the very reason you made it where you are today. While every skipper has a unique way of doing things, it is important to consider those around you. No matter what you are doing, there is probably someone else doing the same thing.
Keeping this in mind, most boat docks are equipped with at least two ramps. Here is where a lot of boaters go wrong. They instantly get caught up in unloading their boat from the trailer that nothing else matters. While it is crucial to stay focused on the task at hand, it just as important to respect your fellow boaters because they are in line to unload their boats as well.
Follow the regulations while unloading your boat in a matter that minimizes wasted time.
While etiquette is oftentimes ignored in boat education courses, it can help keep yourself and those around you calm. Believe it or not, more verbal disagreements take place at the boat dock than anywhere else at the lake.
What Is Considered A “Give-Way Vessel”?
The “give-way” vessel is required by law to stay a safe distance from other vessels. A give-way vessel “burdened vessel” does not have the authority to overtake position. These vessels have two options to avoid a collision and stay legal. These options include change course or slow down.
A Motorboat Is Crossing Paths With A PWC. What Action Should Be Taken?
Operating a vessel is a big responsibility. As an operator of a PWC, you must ask what is the best course of action for the above question. This is not just an answer, it is the law. When you are crossing paths with a motorboat, do you slow down and give the motorboat the right of way or vice versa?
The answer is not that simple. It depends on which vessel is on the port or left. If the motorboat is on the port, it should slow down and give way. If you are on the port, you should slow down and give way.
The best way to approach this situation and you will most likely find yourself in a similar situation at some point, is to think about what you would do if you were operating a vehicle. However, in this case, the rules of the road are much different than that of a watercraft.
If you found yourself in the same situation while operating a vehicle, there is no law that gives motorists on the right or left the right of way. In fact, state laws permit drivers to make up their mind about the right away, but only in certain situations.
For example, two cars are at a T-intersection, the vehicle that arrived first will automatically have the right of way. But, first, both motorists must come to a complete stop before the vehicle with the right of way continues forward.
Unfortunately, it is not this simple on the water because it can take anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes to complete to a complete stop. The time it takes to stop depends on several factors. These factors include the vessel type, the speed the vessel is traveling, and whether or not it is loaded. Whatever the case, a vehicle can generally come to a stop quicker than a vessel, with the exception of a loaded semi-truck or full oil tanker.
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What Course Of Action Should You Take When Facing Another Vessel Head-On?
This is an extremely dangerous situation that is very common in congested areas. In this situation, both vessels are required to veer off to the right. Since neither operator is operating the stand vessel, both are required by law to veer off to their right.
What Is The Purpose Of Navigation Lights?
Navigation lights are utilized by vessels from dusk to dawn to alert other vessels of their orientation and position. They are also utilized to alert operators which vessel is in the give-way position. It is crucial to monitor for navigation lights when operating a vessel at night in congested areas.
What Should Vessel Operators Do When Entering Restricted-Visibility Areas?
Low-visibility areas pose many dangers for vessel operators. The USCG requires all vessel operators in poor visibility areas to decrease their speed accordingly. The speed should be low enough for the operator to keep their vessel on course with little to no effort.
Three Reasons Why US Boaters Are Fined – Common Boating Violations
American boat operators are fined from time to time for violating USCG regulations. The most common boat operator violations in the United States include the following:
Reckless Operation – Includes disregard for public property and welfare of others on and off the water. Ignoring posted speed limits and failure to give way.No-Boat Zone Violations – Engineers spend months, even years researching the waterways to determine the best speed limit and unsafe areas, such as high-wind areas. These areas are marked by a “crossed diamond.” Boaters entering these areas will face hefty fines if caught.No-Wake Violations – Vessels are required by law to slow down to about 5 miles per hour before entering no-wake zones. Unfortunately, some American skippers get caught up in the moment, resulting in a fine, ranging between $150 and $1,200 in most states.Unregistered Vessels – USCG officials will periodically stop vessels to verify the operator’s state-approved boat safety certification, boater registration, and license in some states.
Failure To Register – In the United States, many vessels have to be registered with the state of operation. Failure to register a vessel fine ranges between $10 and $100 in many states.
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