79A.60.620  <<  79A.60.630 >>   79A.60.640

Boating safety educationCommission's dutiesFeeReport to the legislature.

(1) The commission shall establish and implement by rule a program to provide required boating safety education. The boating safety education program shall include training on preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. The boating safety education program shall include educational materials regarding whale watching guidelines and other voluntary and regulatory measures related to whale watching. The program shall be phased in so that all boaters not exempted under RCW 79A.60.640(3) are required to obtain a boater education card by January 1, 2016. To obtain a boater education card, a boater shall provide a certificate of accomplishment issued by a boating educator for taking and passing an accredited boating safety education course, or pass an equivalency exam, or provide proof of completion of a course that meets the standard adopted by the commission.
(2) As part of the boating safety education program, the commission shall:
(a) Establish a program to be phased over eleven years starting July 1, 2005, with full implementation by January 1, 2016. The period July 1, 2005, through December 31, 2007, will be program development, boater notification of the new requirements for mandatory education, and processing cards to be issued to individuals having taken an accredited course prior to January 1, 2008. The schedule for phase-in of the mandatory education requirement by age group is as follows:
January 1, 2008 - All boat operators twenty years old and younger;
January 1, 2009 - All boat operators twenty-five years old and younger;
January 1, 2010 - All boat operators thirty years old and younger;
January 1, 2011 - All boat operators thirty-five years old and younger;
January 1, 2012 - All boat operators forty years old and younger;
January 1, 2013 - All boat operators fifty years old and younger;
January 1, 2014 - All boat operators sixty years old and younger;
January 1, 2015 - All boat operators seventy years old and younger;
January 1, 2016 - All boat operators;
(b) Establish a minimum standard of boating safety education accomplishment. The standard must be consistent with the applicable standard established by the national association of state boating law administrators;
(c) Adopt minimum standards for boating safety education course of instruction and examination that ensures compliance with the national association of state boating law administrators minimum standards;
(d) Approve and provide accreditation to boating safety education courses operated by volunteers, or commercial or nonprofit organizations, including, but not limited to, courses given by the United States coast guard auxiliary and the United States power squadrons;
(e) Develop an equivalency examination that may be taken as an alternative to the boating safety education course;
(f) Establish a fee of ten dollars for the boater education card to fund all commission activities related to the boating safety education program created by chapter 392, Laws of 2005, including the initial costs of developing the program. Any surplus funds resulting from the fees received shall be distributed by the commission as grants to local marine law enforcement programs approved by the commission as provided in RCW 88.02.650;
(g) Establish a fee for the replacement of the boater education card that covers the cost of replacement;
(h) Consider and evaluate public agency and commercial opportunities to assist in program administration with the intent to keep administrative costs to a minimum;
(i) Approve and provide accreditation to boating safety education courses offered online; and
(j) Provide a report to the legislature by January 1, 2008, on its progress of implementation of the mandatory education program.


IntentEffective date2011 c 171: See notes following RCW 4.24.210.
Intent2005 c 392: "It is the intent of the legislature to establish a boating safety education program that contributes to the reduction of accidents and increases the enjoyment of boating by all operators of all recreational vessels on the waters of this state. Based on the 2003 report to the legislature titled "Recreational Boating Safety in Washington, A Report on Methods to Achieve Safer Boating Practices," the legislature recognizes that boating accidents also occur in nonmotorized vessels in this state, but, at this time there is no national educational standard for nonmotorized vessels. Therefore, the commission is hereby authorized and directed to work with agencies and organizations representing nonmotorized vessel activities and individuals operating nonmotorized vessels to decrease accidents of operators in these vessels. It is also the intent of the legislature to encourage boating safety education programs that use volunteer and private sector efforts to enhance boating safety and education for operators of nonmotorized vessels to work closely with the state parks and recreation commission in its efforts to reduce all boating accidents in this state." [ 2005 c 392 § 1.]
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