|AZBW NEWS SERVICE — Oklahoma Gov. Brad
Henry signed legislation June 6 that will require young
boaters to take boating-education courses.
majority of boating fatalities involve operators who
have not had proper training," the governor said. "These
common sense measurers will help ensure that our young
people are prepared to safely operate boats and save
lives on Oklahoma’s lakes."
The legislation, Senate Bill 1495, creates the Kyle
Williams Boating Safety Education Act, named in honor of
a 12-year-old Edmond boy who died in a personal
watercraft accident nearly two years ago.
The measure establishes new requirements for children
under 16 to operate certain types of watercraft, the
governor’s office said in a release.
Existing Oklahoma law prohibits children under 12
from operating a boat or personal watercraft but
includes no educational requirements. SB 1495 will
require those between the ages of 12 and 16 to complete
a boater-safety education course and be supervised by an
With SB 1495, Oklahoma joins 44 other states that
require boating-safety education for teens and children.
Boater education courses are currently available free
of charge through the Department of Public Safety, so
the legislation will not require any additional
appropriation of tax dollars, the governor’s office
The legislation includes a fine of up to $100 for a
first offense and up to $500 for a second offense for
any parent or other supervising adult or the owner of
the vessel — who knows, or should have known, that the
operator is not in compliance with the certification
requirements — who allows a child between 12 and 16 to
operate a vessel without having completed the required
Arizona is one of the few states that do not require
mandatory boater education.