Boating Education Classes Are Encouraged

It may still feel like winter, but spring is here and the Oregon State Marine Board encourages boaters and passengers to enroll in a boating education course before the kickoff of the boating season. During the week of March 19-25, as part of the Spring Aboard — Take A Boating Education Course campaign, many course providers are offering discounts or other incentives for students who enroll or complete a boating safety education course.

The Oregon State Marine Board offers boaters three course options: classroom, internet or equivalency exam. Classroom instructors are certified by the Marine Board and teach a nationally-approved Boat Oregon classroom course. Internet courses are another option and the Marine Board offers three courses that can be accessed from their website. Internet courses are designed to have the boater read the material, take a chapter quiz, and if they pass, progress to the next chapter. After the chapter quizzes have been completed and passed, there is a final exam. The agency also offers a free paddlesports internet course for people new to this type of boating.

Equivalency exams forego any instruction and are designed for more experienced boaters. Exams can be taken at the Marine Board office in Salem, or through your local county sheriff’s office. Law enforcement deputies serve as proctors for the exam. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadron also offer excellent classroom and interactive online safety courses that are nationally approved and accepted by the Marine Board.
According to MariAnn McKenzie, Boating Education Coordinator for the Marine Board, “Educated boaters are safer on the water. If a boater has taken a safety course, they have a higher chance of having an enjoyable experience and so will their passengers.” McKenzie added, “There are no lanes to follow on the water, so it is important to know what to do if a boat is coming at you head on or what sound signals are required to indicate your intentions. With changing environmental conditions and crowded areas, knowing how to safely interact with other boaters or water users is also key to having a good time out there. You never know what might happen, be prepared.”

Forty-nine (49) states and U.S. territories require some form of mandatory education courses for operators of some powered boats . For more information about the Marine Board’s available courses visit

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