Suffering quarantine fatigue and want to get out and have fun? You are not alone. It has been more than a year since the pandemic spread across the nation and around the world. With the growing number of people getting vaccinated for the Covid-19 virus, more people will venture outside as our days get longer and temperatures rise.

Many will hit our area waterways, some for the first time. The Washington State Parks Boating Safety Team wants you to be ready to take to the water safely by taking their virtual Washington State Boater Education program before this summer.

The week of March 21st is the Park’s Spring Aboard 2021 campaign, encouraging more Washington boaters to get their Boater Education Card through this course. Visit the Washington Boater Education website to learn how to sign up for an on-line class.

Last year, there were 24 recreational boating fatalities in the state including several in the North Sound. Only one of those 24 had formal boater safety education. Paddlers accounted for 13 of the 24 fatalities.

The on-line boater education course provides enhanced knowledge of boating safety, emergency procedures and navigational rules. Boaters can be certified and obtain a Boater Education Card by attending a virtual instructor-led classroom course, an on-line course, or home study and equivalency exam. As of the end of January this year, over 400,000 in Washington had a Boater Education Card.

If you did not know this, for many boaters to operate a vessel, it is the law to carry a Boater Education Card. The minimum fine for not carrying a valid Boater Education Car while operating a boat in the state is $99.

If you plan to be among the many out enjoying the warmer weather out on our area waterways, obtain your Boater Education Card and know that you will operate your boat more safely. After more than a year in some form of quarantine, we deserve to have fun on the water!