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Boater Education Cards are mandatory on the water

The summer boating season has arrived and the Mercer Island Police Marine Patrol reminds Islanders that Washington State Boater Education Cards are mandatory for all people age 35 and under this year when operating a vessel with 15 or more horsepower (including personal or any motorized watercraft). Boater Education Cards are easy to obtain, good for life, and cost $10. Cards must be present on the boat operator and available for inspection.

Boater Education Cards can be obtained either by attending a class or completing an online training. Additional information is available at www.parks.wa.gov/boating. Click on the “Get your boater card” link for education and testing options. Islanders choosing to take the on-line training course print a certificate of completion to mail in with the application and fee to Washington State Parks to receive a Boater Safety Education Card in the mail. Note that processing applications can take up to six weeks.

Safety tips

1. Inspect your boat before going out with family and friends, and make sure that you have a wearable personal flotation device (PFD) for each person on board, a Type IV throwable PFD for all vessels 16 feet or greater in length, a fire extinguisher if required, and a horn or other approved sound-producing device. These pieces of basic safety equipment are required.

2. Make sure that children 12 or younger wear life jackets (mandatory in vessels under 19 feet in length).

3. Don’t drink and boat. A significant percentage of serious boating accidents and drownings involve alcohol. Have a designated operator and limit your consumption while on the water.

4. Remember sunscreen.

Contact Mercer Island Police Sergeant Jim Robarge with Marine Patrol if you have further questions at jim.robarge@mercergov.org or call (206) 275-7925.

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