Safe Boating in PA

Safe Boating is important anywhere. How can I be a safe boater for me and my family?

  • Observe all rules of the road.
  • Have your vessel outfitted with proper safety equipment.
  • Be knowledgeable on how to handle emergencies.
  • Have the right boat for you and your boating activities.
  • These and many more.

First and foremost, be educated.   Sure any three year old can turn a key and point the boat in the right direction. Yes a three year old, parents went into panic mode, but the three year old knew about the workings of the boat; no harm done.  All boat operators born after January 1, 1982 for boats over 25 hp or jet ski operators regardless of age must have a Boating Safety Education Certificate issued. In Pennsylvania, the certificates are issued by the PA Fish and Boat Commission after the successful completion of an state approved boating safety course.

How to I find a course?   There are several organizations in Pennsylvania that are approved. The Coast Guard Auxiliary courses are recognized by all states and there are two to choose from.  The 8-hour About Boating Safety (ABS) which is mainly state and federal rules along with safety information. The 26+hour Boating Skills and Seamanship (BS&S) course is a comprehensive course for inland or coastal boating.   Topics include the federal and state rules, types of boats, trailering tips, navigation, inland and international navigation rules, and even a hands-on workshop on proper knot tying. See the link for the next USCG Auxiliary Boating Safety Course.

What about my boat?  While the boat is covered in the  BS&S course, nothing is better than a free one on one vessel safety inspection by a Coast Guard Auxiliarist. See the Vessel Safety Check info on this site.