It makes sense to get trained before operating a boat, just like before getting behind the wheel of a car, but apparently not enough are getting the training.

We all took safety courses before driving a car. We should have then spent hours with a responsible adult giving us behind-the-wheel advice and instruction before driving solo. Apparently that isn't happening on the water. With springtime here, Minnesotans are looking forward to getting out on the water. Let's hope everyone gets some training so we are all safer.

In a report from the U.S. Coast Guard, released through the Department of Natural Resources, up to 80 percent of boating fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had not taken a safety course. The Minnesota DNR is promoting a discount that boaters can receive by taking a course through the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators by registering for a course during the week of March 19-25. Use promo code SPRINGBOARD17 to get a 50 percent discount on the cost of an online course.

In a news release from the DNR, Stephanie Weatherington of the NASBLA states, "March is the perfect time to take a course before the summer boating season begins." She added, "with today's wide variety of courses available, there's a course for everyone's schedule."

In Minnesota, a safety certificate is required for those age 12-17 to operate a boat over 25 horsepower unsupervised. For the full list of Minnesota regulations, to to the DNR's boat and water safety page on their website. Most questions you have about what's legal and what's not can be answered on the site. It's very tragic when a segment of Monday's news is spent reporting on the mishaps of the summer weekend gone by.

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