NORTH PLATTE, Neb.-- Going out on the lake is something many people enjoy, but if you’re operating a boat without a license you’re breaking the law.
Rachelle Allbery teaches boating safety classes here in North Platte and on Tuesday I got to sit in on one. Allbery says it’s important to have conversations with teens about boating safety.
“We’re putting a lot of kids who aren’t old enough to drive a car yet in the equivalent. [It] doesn’t have breaks, break lights, turn signals, seat belts, a roof and lines on the road,” said Boating Safety Instructor for the Nebraska Game and Parks, Rachelle Allbery. “So we need to make sure we have that conversation so everybody is on the same page.”
Boaters have to be at least 14-years-old to operate a boat and its state law for anyone born after December 31, 1985 who wants to operate a boat, to have a boating certificate. If you’re born before December 31, 1985 than getting a boaters certificate is not required but some still think it’s a good idea.
“It is just like getting your learners permit and taking drivers ed and classes like that. It’s all good precautionary measures because these days there are a lot of careless people that could cause a lot of accidents and I think everybody should try and be as safe as possible,” said Zachery Miller, a student in the boating class.
In boating school you don’t just learn the rules of the road…er lake you learn the ins and outs of your boat.
“They’re learning all different things; they’re learning parts of the boat, the rules of the road, different things to do for weather emergencies, injuries, just a lot of different things about your buoys and markers…a little bit of everything,” laughed Allbery.
If you haven’t gotten your boating license yet but you plan on hitting the lake you might want to hold off. There’s a test out session coming up on June 30 in North Platte.
“You can actually go online, use the study guide they provided, you can download a PDF also, it gives you all the information then you come in and watch the video and take the test it’s pretty convenient,” said Allbery.
Test out dates for North Platte:
June 30, 9a.m.-12p.m.
July 29, 9a.m.-12p.m.
August 9, 9a.m.-12p.m.
If you’re looking for other locations and testing dates you can go to the Nebraska Game and Parks website here, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/calendar/index.php?&search=search&q=boating+&
Once you receive your boating certificate you can legally operate a boat in all 50 states.