Del. Office of Boating Safety Urges Boaters to Take Classes - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Office of Boating Safety Urges Boaters to Take Classes

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Boats await use in the Lewes Marina (Photo: WBOC) Boats await use in the Lewes Marina (Photo: WBOC)

LEWES, Del.- The Delaware Office of Boating Safety and Education is urging boaters to enroll in safety classes as part of the national "Spring Aboard" campaign ahead of a busy boating season.

Capt. Rick Yakimowicc works at Fisherman's Wharf in Lewes and said he has taken extensive safety courses.

"People need to be more aware, there's a lot more boaters out on the water now than there ever has been," he said. "And it's not like you just go out there and you're just all alone by yourself, you need to be aware of what's around you and what you're doing and what the other boats are doing."

He added however that not everyone knows all the safety standards.

"A lot of times you'll get people out there that only do it once or twice a year and they get out on the water, they get sidetracked and next thing you know there's a big boat coming down on them and they have no idea," he said.

Currently, under Delaware law, anyone born after Jan. 1, 1978 is required to complete a safety course to operate a boat, but there are still accidents.

Last year in the First State, there were 25 boating accidents and one boating-related death.

According to the US Coast Guard, 80 percent of boating deaths occur when the operator did not take the proper safety courses.

Because of those factors, officials want boaters to enroll in the eight hour safety course whether they're required to or not.

Capt. Dale Parsons, owner of Fisherman's Wharf in Lewes (which is Coast Guard certified), said while safety is important, all the requirements aren't necessary.

"Hey, we're on the boat too, and we want to come back! So we did! And that's the way it was," he said. "Today they go to an extreme. Everyone's trying to make their job more important than it is really."

Nonetheless, officials suggest understanding rules including speed limits, engine mechanics and more.

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