Spring Aboard with Free Boater Education

COLUMBUS, OH – Boating season is just around the corner! During the week of March 17-23, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) are encouraging boaters to Spring Aboard by enrolling in a boating education course.

“Education is key to having a safe and enjoyable day on the water,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “Spring is an excellent time to take a boater education class for anyone who will spend time on a boat this summer.”

A boating safety course provides critical information to prepare both new and veteran boaters for the potential risks faced while boating. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, statistics show that when the level of operator education was known, 81 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.

In Ohio, a boater education course is required for anyone operating a boat over 10 horsepower who was born on or after Jan. 1, 1982. Ohio’s boater requirement can be met by taking and passing an approved boating education course (classroom, online or home study), or by taking and passing a proficiency exam. For a summary of Ohio’s regulations and available courses, go to watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/coursesearch.

Take advantage of the free classroom courses being offered around the state on Saturday, March 23:

Central Ohio – Alum Creek State Park, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Call 740-548-5490 to reserve your place.

Northeast Ohio
• Geneva State Park, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Call 440-466-8400 to reserve your place.
• Shaker Lake Nature Center, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Call 216-361-1212 to reserve your place.

• Stover Power Boats, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Call West Branch State Park at 330-298-9196 to reserve your place.

Northwest Ohio
• East Harbor State Park, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Call 419-621-1402 or email sandusky.watercraft@dnr.state.oh.us to reserve your place.

• Maumee Bay State Park, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Call 419-836-6003 or email maumeebay.watercraft@dnr.state.oh.us to reserve your place.

Southeast Ohio – Scioto Field Office, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Call 740-353-7668 to reserve your place.

Southwest Ohio – Rocky Fork State Park, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Call 513-734-2730 or email cincinnati.watercraft@dnr.state.oh.us to reserve your place.

Many national course providers, such as Ace Boater, BoatEd and BoaterExam, are offering course discounts for students who enroll in or complete a course during the Spring Aboard campaign. Course providers and offerings may vary between states. Ohio requires that completed courses meet the national boating education standards for powerboat rental or operation, as verified by NASBLA. To ensure a course qualifies, look for the NASBLA-approved logo.

The Spring Aboard campaign is open to participation by all states, territories, boating education organizations, instructors and course providers. For more information about the Spring Aboard campaign, visit springaboard.org.

The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft provides exceptional outdoor recreation and boating opportunities by balancing outstanding customer service, education, protection and conservation of Ohio’s state parks and waterways.