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FWC approves 3 course providers for new airboat operators

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has approved three providers to offer the newly required Airboat Operators Course for airboat operators carrying passengers for hire. USA Marine Training, Peace River Charters and TAC Training are the first three companies to have been approved to offer the course. Contact information for these providers can be found at MyFWC.com/Boating. Airboat operators interested in taking the course should contact these companies directly for details.

“We’re pleased these providers have created courses that meet or exceed the FWC’s standards for this new course,” said Maj. Robert Rowe, FWC’s section leader for Boating and Waterways. “It is our hope that even more providers will apply for course approval so there are plenty of opportunities for members of our airboat for hire industry to take this course.”

The legislative revision to s.327.391, Florida Statutes, which goes into effect July 1, 2019, requires all persons operating an airboat carrying one or more passengers for hire on state waters to have photographic ID, proof of successful completion of boater safety education or USCG Captain’s license, proof of a commission-approved airboat operator course and proof of completion of CPR and first-aid courses. At its June 19-20, 2018 meeting in Sarasota, Commissioners approved course requirements for airboat operators carrying passengers for hire.

FWC staff worked with the airboat education industry, stakeholders and gathered public input to develop the minimum course requirements for instructor qualifications, airboat operators course requirements, basic course topics, proof of completion, and refresher course requirements. The requirements are supported by the airboat education industry, stakeholders, and the public as indicated by meetings with the Florida Airboat Association and members of the public.

Additional information for those operating airboats carrying passengers for hire can go to Airboat Operators Carrying Passengers for Hire.

The entire rule can be viewed at FLrules.org.

For more information, individuals may contact Precious Boatwright or Brian Rehwinkel at 850-488-5600.