What is the history of the Boating Safety Education Bill?
Legislation requiring boat operators to take a boater safety education course in order to operate a boat in Washington state was signed into law by Governor Chris Gregoire on May 11, 2005. The legislation was developed by the Washington Alliance for Mandatory Boater Education (WAMBE). WAMBE is comprised of representatives from a variety of boating-related organizations. The alliance includes representatives of the boating industry, representatives of recreational boating groups, as well as government, law enforcement, and marine safety groups. WAMBE was formed in September 2002 to improve recreational boating safety in Washington state.

The law is patterned after similar legislation in Oregon and requires completion of a basic boating class, or passage of an equivalency exam, to obtain a Boater Education Card. The Boater Education Card is required for operation of a motorboat with 15 horsepower or more. Like the Oregon law, the Washington law will have a phased-in period for compliance. The Boater Education Card is not like a driver's license. It is obtained once and is good for lifetime. The card informs law enforcement that the boat operator has a basic level of boating safety knowledge.

Washington joins 36 other states that have some sort of educational requirements for operating a boat. The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission's Boating Safety Program administers the provisions of the law. The administration of the law is fully supported by the $10 Boater Education Card user fee. The program is funded by boaters for boaters.

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1. Am I required to carry a Boater Education Card to operate all types of boats?
2. Who is exempt from having a Boater Education Card?
3. What do I need to qualify for a Boater Education Card?
4. How much does a Boater Education Card cost?
5. How can I get my Boater Education Card?
6. When will I receive my Boater Education Card?
7. Do I have to wait six weeks before I can operate a motorboat?
8. Is the Boater Education Card a license?
9. Is there a fine for not having a Boater Education Card in my possession when operating a motorboat?
10. Is my Boater Education Card good in other states and Canada that have mandatory boating education requirements?
11. Is an Oregon Boater Education Card valid in Washington?
12. Is there any reason to get a Boater Education Card if I am not required?
13. What do I do if my Boater Education Card is lost or damaged?
14. What is the history of the Boating Safety Education Bill?