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Old 07-30-2021, 02:27 PM   #1
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Washington Boater's License Training

Looking for recommendations on a good course to take for the Washington State Boater's Card training. There are three certified online courses listed on the Washington State site. Is one better than the other?

https://parks.state.wa.us/448/Online-Courses

My learning style is such that I'd prefer to do a hands-on course, but my work schedule, combined with other commitments, leaves me with only late-night learning availability.

Thanks.

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Old 07-30-2021, 03:22 PM   #2
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You definitely don't need a training course to get the card. Here is a free course approved by the State of Washington. You sit down when you have a few hours of free time, read chapter one on line, answer a few quick questions about what you just read, and continue on to the next chapter. Very easy. Just common sense questions.
https://www.boatus.org/washington/
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Old 07-30-2021, 03:44 PM   #3
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I agree with Russell. The WA state boaters card is a very rudimentary exercise. It won’t teach you how to handle your boat, but it simply ensures that you have been exposed to the basics of COLREGs and WA state law. It isn’t a bad thing but doing the online course is perfectly adequate for what it is.

That isn’t to say that a hands on course wouldn’t be a good idea. Anything from Power Squadron courses to some one on one time with the teaching captain to help you with boat handling on your boat in your location can be great ideas.
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Old 07-30-2021, 09:59 PM   #4
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If the Washington card is as pathetic as the BC license, you can just do open book, and you're good to go.
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Old 07-30-2021, 10:29 PM   #5
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You need the course to learn the special jet ski rules (or I did at least).
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Old 07-30-2021, 10:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
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If the Washington card is as pathetic as the BC license, you can just do open book, and you're good to go.

Yup, that is about it. That doesn’t bother me a bit. I consider it nothing more than a way to let operators of boats know that they are responsible for certain information and are responsible for the actions they take. It won’t make them competent, but it isn’t designed to do that.

Let’s face it, there are some recreational boaters out there that feel that unless a person has at least a 6-pack license, they shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the helm of any boat. There are others that think that it is their God given right to drive any boat, anywhere, any time, and in any manner they see fit (at least in the US). No requirement will make everyone happy.
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Old 07-31-2021, 07:31 AM   #7
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Wife and I took the BoatUS course to obtain the card since it's required. We had low expectations on what it would teach us, and our expectations were met. Had to learn lots of stuff about boat trailers and jet skis that is not applicable to our boating, but for a "one size fits all" approach, what do you expect?
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:07 AM   #8
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Glad I am grandfathered in and am exempt from a required Washington license. Doubt if I need to know much about jet ski operation at my age. After operating boats the past the past 62 years and encountered almost every possible situation one can imagine I feel pretty well qualified operating a boat.
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
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If the Washington card is as pathetic as the BC license, you can just do open book, and you're good to go.
Pathetic is a good descriptor. It is a cash grab. As some said better than nothing. When this first came out I learned about it after my card arrived in the mail. Apparently my classes at CPS to AP level was enough to avoid the open book test.
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Old 07-31-2021, 11:26 AM   #10
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Pathetic is a good descriptor. It is a cash grab. As some said better than nothing. When this first came out I learned about it after my card arrived in the mail. Apparently my classes at CPS to AP level was enough to avoid the open book test.

“Cash grab” is a bit of a stretch. There is a one-time $10 fee. That fee pretty much covers the ongoing operating costs of the program. Any excess is rolled into boating safety programs.

I admit that anytime I enter or leave my home port of Gig Harbor on a sunny weekend, I wish that the minimal boat education required by the card applied to the SUPs and kayaks that clog the harbor.
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Old 07-31-2021, 01:07 PM   #11
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I wish that the minimal boat education required by the card applied to the SUPs and kayaks that clog the harbor.


Not just Gig Harbor, but almost everywhere.


You nailed it!
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Old 07-31-2021, 01:15 PM   #12
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I guess I'm the exception to what's been said above. I've boated for 60 years and have taken the in-classroom setting course 5 times. They offer the course in the winter so it gets my butt out of the house and when you take it in a classroom setting you get a lot of info from the conversations that go on in the class.

The last time I took it I was actually exempt because I'm an old fart but I took it with my wife. She'd never taken the course before so it was good for her and a good refresher for me.
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Old 07-31-2021, 10:30 PM   #13
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On a positive note towards our Canadian requirement, at my age I have to grow my own boat buddies. I have them take the exam more to give them vocabulary so that when I say something they will actually understand it.

But as I do something with them, I still explain it as a kind of review. "So I will be letting out the anchor, the line attached is called the rode. We need a certain amount of ratio from ocean floor to the top of the boat bow, and consider the tide action as well. We are suppose to let out certain ratios that don't always work in crowded areas such as Desolation Sound. So we do our best and probably stern tie." Then I explain stern tie.
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Old 08-16-2021, 01:22 PM   #14
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Not too many in person US Power Squadron courses available right now but we recommend the in person courses as people can ask questions and be more efficient learners. Instructors have lots to impart with personal experiences expanding on the basic curriculum. I’ve been teaching the basic America’s Boating Course for 15 years in Port Townsend, WA. We will be teaching it again in October but probably via Zoom until Covid gets under control again. Still better than online. Dept of Parks and Rec list both USPS aka Americas Boating Club and CG Aux classes coming up.
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Old 08-16-2021, 01:54 PM   #15
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If you have taken and passed an Inboard Boating Class through ASA, (through San Juan Sailing, Bellingham) do you still have to have this class to boat in WA?
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Old 08-16-2021, 02:03 PM   #16
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If you have taken and passed an Inboard Boating Class through ASA, (through San Juan Sailing, Bellingham) do you still have to have this class to boat in WA?

https://parks.state.wa.us/442/Mandat...ater-Education
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Old 08-16-2021, 03:18 PM   #17
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Boater's License Course

I applaud states which have woken up to the checkbook boater who buys a boat and has no idea of what that entails. and goes out to prove it each time. What no one seems to take into consideration is that it isn't only unsafe to the offending boater and those around him/her, it is also dangerous to 1st responders.

MY only hope is that it isn't so easy that an individual can with a little brushing up has a time passing the exam and that the teeth are in the law to have enough people to enforce it.

To ME, allowing someone who has no or little training for boating, is like putting someone, with a regular driver's license in a tractor-trailer and telling them to drive it cross country. Not a good idea.

In answer to your question, any class which is US Coast Guard taught or offered is probably the best.

On that point also, IF you have extra time you could volunteer for the Auxiliary and get some experience, SAR is a great service, and any courses, the Aux offers, that you want to take are free.

Good luck.
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Old 08-16-2021, 03:46 PM   #18
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While I am a strong supporters of ABC / USPS courses and agree with the states that are requiring some level of training for boat operators... I think we all need to be honest in that the training requirements are miniscule when compared to what it would take for operators to be safe.
The previous USPS basic / introductory course was a 12 week course and a comprehensive exam.
The current ABC / USCG / state bssic boating course that gets anyone "certified" is an 8 hour course and many states accept online "certification"
This is akin to giving anyone that passes a DMV written exam a full driver license. Think about how that would work for 18 wheeler drivers w/o any skills assessment. At least some of our boats are comparable to 18 wheelers HP and weight being piloted by owners with 8hrs of "training".
The only hope is that by taking even an intro course that folks will appreciate how little they know and how much more there is to learn
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Old 08-16-2021, 04:50 PM   #19
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Not sure about being able to use a boating class with SJ Sailing but I do know licensed captains are exempted. We focus on boating safety not boat handling so we are covering rules of the road, rudimentary chart plotting and reading, required safety equipment, emergency procedures, using a VHF, federal and state regulations, how to read and use aids to navigation, sound and light signals, trailering, other types of watercraft safety in addition to larger craft. My best suggestion is to contact our District 16 Squadron Education Officer. Jim West in Everett. He would be happy to go up the chain if he doesn’t know that answer himself. Here’s his email: uspsd16.deo@gmail.com.
Good luck.
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Old 08-16-2021, 05:58 PM   #20
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Or you can just look at the link to the WA state website which specifies what courses meet the requirements.
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