June 2006

CG Wants Mandatory Education Requirement For Vessel Operators

AZBW NEWS SERVICE — The Coast Guard is seeking authority to adopt a regulation that would require that a person operating a recreational vessel on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States have a certificate showing completion of an approved boating-safety course.

The Coast Guard said it has submitted to Congress for its consideration a legislative change proposal asking for authority to establish a requirement for "proof of proficiency" of vessel operators.

The change would amend Section 4302 (a) of Title 46, United States Code by adding a provision giving the Secretary of Transportation the authority to "establish minimum requirements for recreational vessel operator proficiency."

Jeanne Timmons, executive director of the National Boating Safety Advisory Council, advised the members of the council in an April 28 memo that the Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety had submitted the legislative change proposal as the result of a resolution adopted by the council at its April 2004 meeting.

The resolution, Timmons said, advised the CG to seek statutory authority to require that a boat operator on federal waters possess a certificate showing completion of an instructional course that meets the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators Standards on Boating Safety Education and the elements of the NASBLA Model Act.

Arizona at present does not require mandatory education or licensing for recreational vessel operators.