As FWC Highlights Online Options, Some Also Want Boater Safety Taught In Schools

Apr 18, 2016

A state lawmaker wants Florida students to be taught about boating safety in schools.

For the past few years, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has offered online boating safety courses for high schoolers.

“We do have a really cool program that a lot of people don’t know about,” said FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley. “Well, in our high schools, they’re required to take an online class. We work with Florida Virtual School to get an online class designed and certified that high school kids can take that gives them credit and it’s a boating safety class online.”

The Florida Virtual School Outdoor Education Course is free and open to all Florida students age 12 to 18. FWC Officials say it’s the only course in the nation that combines both hunting and boating safety. Those who complete the course earn a half a credit for high school and meet public school requirements for taking an online course as well as a Physical Education course.

Delray Beach Democratic Senator Maria Sachs says she’d like to go further—given recent tragedies in her district. At a recent FWC commission meeting, she cited an idea from a parent.

“And, they said, why don’t we see if we can have in our schools, maybe elementary, maybe middle school, I don’t know,” she said. “But, maybe we can have volunteers who would come in and maybe these volunteers need to take a course certified by your department to go in and teach the students, teach the kids, basic boating safety, and that may help.”

Sachs has worked on boating-related legislation in the past. Most recently, she says she worked with Senate President-designate Joe Negron on a new law taking effect July 1st. It lowers the fees for boaters who buy emergency indicator radio beacons to help locate boaters in distress.

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