Prepare for Boating in New Jersey By Taking the Required Safety Course

Mar 23, 2018

If you’re new to boating, it’s important to know that a safety certification is required if you plan to operate any kind of boat in New Jersey.

“Four or five states require a safety certification, and they have the best boating safety statistics in terms of the least number of incidents,” said Rick O’Meara of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 7-12, who’s taught the New Jersey Boating Safety course in Long Beach Township for several years. “There’s definitely a correlation between what’s taught in the course and doing things right when operating a boat in the states that require a certification. This course focuses people on boating safety for themselves and the passengers on their boats.”

O’Meara said all boaters 16 and older must obtain a boating safety certification, but it’s encouraged to have younger children take the course as well – the certification isn’t required to be renewed, so even if a 13-year-old takes the course, passes the test at the end of it and earns the certification, it’s good for life.

“You have to take this course for all types of personal watercraft, even for Jet Skis and Waverunners,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of families take the course in the years I’ve been teaching it. If you want to drive a boat, you’re responsible for everything on it, and if you’re imparting knowledge to kids getting on your boat, you need to be able to tell them what they can and can’t do. But it’s a good course for kids to take as well.”

Several local Coast Guard auxiliaries conduct the course on various Saturdays throughout the spring and summer months. And while course materials and lunch are provided for the standard $55 cost, participants should bring a pen because they will take the test after the course materials are reviewed. The course runs for approximately eight hours, so plan accordingly.

As part of the course, participants are given plenty of information – topics include introduction to boating; boating law; boating safety equipment; safe boating; navigation; boating problems; trailering, storing and protecting your boat; hunting and fishing, water-skiing and river boating – and after successful completion of the test a temporary certification card is issued. O’Meara said the permanent certification card will arrive in the mail within a few weeks.

“Most of what’s in the course is common-sense stuff,” he said. “When I teach it, I emphasize a few specific things, such as kids wearing personal flotation devices at all times, not sitting on the front of the boat when it’s moving, and drinking and driving. But if you want to operate a boat in New Jersey, this is the first step, and it’s a good one.”

The LBI auxiliary flotilla will present the course at the Long Beach Township municipal building, 6805 Long Beach Blvd., Brant Beach, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on May 19, June 23, July 14 and Aug. 18. For information or to register, contact O’Meara via email at omearar@msn.com or by phone at 609-618-1479.

The Manahawkin-based auxiliary flotilla will present the course at the Bay Avenue Community Center, 775 East Bay Ave., from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 7, May 5, June 2, July 7, Aug. 4 and Sept. 1. For information or to register, contact Edna Winans at 609-304-3403 or emwinans@comcast.net.

The Tuckerton/Little Egg Harbor flotilla will present the course at the Little Egg Harbor Senior Center, 641 Radio Rd., Little Egg Harbor, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 21, June 16 and Aug. 18. For information or to register, contact Bernyce Wubbenhurst at 609-294-0396 or bawubb@gmail.com.

Courses are available in other locations throughout the state as well. Visit cgaux.org/boatinged/class_finder, where you can search by ZIP Code to find a nearby location.

David Biggy

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