The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is reviewing a proposal that would require all boaters to pass a safety class before operating a vessel. Upon passing the class, each boater would obtain an ID card that proves they’re fit for the sea. The aim of the ID card is to cut down on the number of fatalities caused by dangerous boating. Reports show that similar boater ID card programs have reduced the number of boating fatalities by 25 percent in Oregon and Connecticut.
As it stands now, only boaters under the age of 21 must pass a safety course in Florida. The proposed plan would increase that minimum age by 5 years incrementally over the next 11 years. In other words, by 2020, the ID card will be required for all boaters under the age of 76.
With boating fatalities on the rise in Florida, most registered boaters seem to support the idea of an ID card program. In 2005, a record 81 fatalities were recorded. The hope is that those numbers will drop significantly, and the waters will be safer once the boater ID program sets sail.