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NASBLA to propose improved reciprocity

The National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) is an organization that, among other things, was formed to foster cooperation and reciprocity between the states. To that end, more than 10 years ago, NASBLA developed its minimum content for safe boating education courses. That was good. It resulted in states and private boating safety educational organizations across the nation adopting the content. On the other hand, in all the time since, NASBLA has failed to adopt an official policy of reciprocity when it comes to safety course certificates.

That’s not been good.  But change is on the horizon.

At its next meeting in September, NASBLA members will be asked to approve a proposal in which all states would accept NASBLA-approved boating safety course certificates as proof of the successful completion of safety courses. This will allow boaters of one state to enjoy boating in another state when temporarily operating a boat. It will go a long way in promoting uniform state boating laws across the country. It’s long overdue. It’s excellent and deserves unanimous support by NASBLA members.

Not as excellent is a companion proposal NASBLA will take up. It deals with boaters who permanently relocate from another state. This proposal should also simply call for the states to accept the safety course certificate when a boater changes state residency, but it doesn’t go that far. Instead, it proposes that when a person changes residency, and if the course certificate is from a NASBLA approved course, “the new state of residency should either accept the certificate issued by the home state or provide a mechanism for the person to take a short test, in order to become a certified boater in the new state of residency.”

In line with the NASBLA’s goal of fostering reciprocity, this proposal needs to be revised to simply call for acceptance of any certificate from any NASBLA-approved course.

There is no reasonable justification for requiring a relocating boater to “take a short test” again. Think about it – we’re living in a time when you can get a Masters Degree on the internet and need not ever set foot on the college’s campus.  But NASBLA thinks it makes sense to have “a short test” to go boating? It makes no sense and this proposal needs to be amended.

It’s taken a long time for NASBLA to formally address these reciprocity issues, but the good news for boating and boaters is that it appears to be finally happening.?

Comments

3 comments on “NASBLA to propose improved reciprocity

  1. PETER FUHRMAN

    AS A VETERAN OF THE MARINE INDUSTRY AND A LONG TIME MEMBER OF THE U.S.COAST GUARD AUXILIARY I FEEL A UNIFORMED STATE SAFETY COURSE IS A GOOD IDEA AS LONG AS IT CAN’T BE GOTTEN ON THE INTERNET AS THESE COURSES REALLY DON’T “TEACH”, IT GETS PEOPLE TO LOOK UP ANSWRES TO QUESTIONS. IN NEW JERSEY, THE STATE MANDATES 8 HOURS OF CLASSROOM TIME AND A PRIOCTERED EXAM WHICH THE AUXILIARY AND OTHER AGENCIES HAVE BEEN DOING FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS. WHEN OUR STUDENTS COMPLETE A COURSE ( WE HAVE BEEN USING AMERICAS BOATING COURSE) THEY TELL US THEY HAVE LEARNED A LOT AND DIDN’T KNOW HOW MUCH THERE IS LEARN. MANY ASK ABOUT MORE COMPREHENSIVE EDUCATION.

    IN TALKING TOP PEOPLE FROM OUT OF STATE WHO HAVE TAKEN ON LINE COURSES, THEY ARE AMAZED AT WHAT THEY DID NOT LEARN. NEW JERSEY DOES NOT RECOGNIZE OUT OF STATE COURSES ON A PERMANENT BASIS BUT GIVE OUT OF STATERS A 90 DAY WINDOW. IF NEW JERSEY BECOMES THEIR PRIMERY BOATING STATE THEN THEY NEEDT GET A NJ BOATING SAFETY CERTIFICATE. THE REASON IS SIMPLE, STATE BOATING LAWS VARY FRON STATE TO STATE AND BOATERS WHO BOAT IN NJ NEED TO KNOW JERSEY LAW. IN OUR PUBLIC EDUCATION CLASSES WE HAVE A NEW JERSEY MARINE POLICE ( PART OF THE STATE POLICE ) GIVE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF NJ MARINE LAW BEFORE WE EVEN GET INTO THE MAIN SUBJECTS.

    IF A STANDARDIZED PROGRAM THAT WILL ELLINATE THE SHORT CUTS TAKEN BY OTHER STATES AND GIVE THE INEXSPERIENCED BOATING SOME GOOD BASIC KNOWLEDGE, THEM THAT’S OK. BUT IF ANYONE CAN GO ON LINE FOR THISQUALIFICATION THEN IT’S A WASTE OF TIME.

  2. Chris

    If New Jersey is the ‘model’ for mandatory education, then the rest of the country is in big trouble! The phase in period for everyone to obtain mandatory education is too quick, there are too many hurdles to become an instructor, and there are too few courses being offered for people to obtain a boating certficate. The amount of complaints I hear from New Jersey boaters about their new education system is astounding! Plus, the cost of courses has gone through the roof since mandatory education was enacted. The average course cost is now nearly $100, which is more than twice as much as a comparable course in Florida–which does allow internet courses. I am also an Auxiliary instructor, but I recognize that the Internet offers timeliness that can’t be obtained in a classroom. And while I believe that a classroom course is preferable, there should be a place for internet courses as well. As for reciprocity, there does need to be a more equitable solution for people who move as Mr. Schultz posits. I have always believed that a boating certificate is good for life, and as a member of the NASBLA education committee I am working to see that idea reflected in state boating laws.

  3. Bob

    I am an instructor with the United States Power Squadrons. One thing that really excites me about our Public Boating Course, after learning the course material, many students realize how much more there is to learn, that the course did not cover. The course basically covers the minimum requirements to fulfill Ohio’s Boater Education Law and NASBLA. But our Public Boating Course often generates students (and members) for our other, more advanced courses. I think teaching the Public Boating Course online, is an acceptable way to educate a person that might not have taken a course. But I think that online course must be designed to also wet their appetite, so that boater will seek out the additional education opportunities that exist.

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