Required boat safety course considered
BY World's Editorials Writers
Monday, September 10, 2012
9/10/12 at 4:20 AM
Ardmore Republican Rep. Pat Ownbey has a good idea that deserves to become law next session. He is considering introducing a bill requiring new boaters to undergo mandatory training before they are allowed to operate boats on Oklahoma waterways.
Last week, Ownbey held a legislative interim study on the issue with members of the House Public Safety Committee.
Ownbey says he was prompted to study the issue following the death of an Ardmore woman in May during a nighttime boating accident at Lake Murray.
Oklahomans between the ages of 12 and 16 are required to take a boater education course before operating a boat in the state.
Ownbey says he envisions his bill would apply to individuals born after a certain date so that experienced boaters would not be required to take the course.
One of this state's greatest sources of recreation are its many waterways and lakes, most of which allow boat traffic. Each year too many lives are lost in boating accidents.
Last year, an Oklahoma City man was killed and two passengers on his boat injured on Lake Texoma. The man was driving his boat from a marina in Texas to a Marshall County marina when it struck a rift raft at a railroad bridge. An accident report indicated that the boat was traveling 65 mph when it struck the raft, traveled 20 feet onto the rocks and ejected the man out of the boat and onto the rocks.
In 2011, according to U.S. Coast Guard accident statistics, 11 people died in Oklahoma in 57 reported boating accidents.
Most drivers, particularly of a certain age, undergo training to operate a vehicle on the roads. Why in the world wouldn't boaters need similar training?
Original Print Headline: Good idea