Honolulu – The DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) announces the launch of a virtual class for thrill craft certification by Windward Community College (WCC). The new and improved virtual certification course for new thrill craft owners and operators will be live on Monday, November 23, 2020.
This certification course is normally conducted in a classroom, but the COVID-19 pandemic ended in-person instruction at this time, so WCC re-tooled its program. The virtual course is the result of collaboration between Maria Elena Diaz, Interim Director of WCC’s College of Career and Community Education and Renee Wallace-Silberstein, DOBOR’s Boating Safety Education Specialist.
Diaz commented, “One positive result of the coronavirus pandemic is that classroom course providers everywhere were forced to rethink how they deliver course content. Forgoing in-person instruction has forced everyone to embrace new and emerging technology and incorporate it into curriculums. The virtual certification course offered by WCC can reach out to potential students anywhere around the world, as long as there are no language barriers.”
A jet ski or personal watercraft (PWC) is considered by law and by administrative rules as a “thrill craft.” The rules for thrill craft operation are lengthy and detailed so DLNR/DOBOR requires specialized training and certification for legal and safe operation of a thrill craft in state waters.
The partnership between DLNR and WCC goes back to the early 1990s when DLNR instituted rules to manage thrill craft use in state waters and WCC was the only entity to respond. The college created a curriculum and began churning out thrill craft graduates.
A standard feature of both the old and new course is the topic of risk management in the context of thrill craft operation. This segment teaches operators to look at conditions, to weigh safety factors, to mitigate risk and conduct self-assessments. DOBOR administrator Ed Underwood said, “Exploring this one topic may be the most valuable lesson for thrill craft operators. We’d like to thank the pioneers who carried the program in its early years and helped create the curriculum at WCC.”