Boaters looking for a Boating Education course near them now have the option to take the complete course and test online, from the comfort of their own home.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has offered an online course option for many years, but participants were required to print a certificate at home and go to a testing site near them to complete their test. Thanks to recent legislation, the requirement of a proctored, in-person exam has been lifted to make it easier for people to get on Arkansas’s waters and stay safe while doing so.
"If you pass the test, you will receive a temporary voucher to print until your permanent card arrives in the mail," said Alex Hinson, AGFC Boating Education coordinator. "The online option is administered by Kalkomey, who handles boating and hunter education for many states, and is customized to fit Arkansas’s boating laws."
While convenient, the online option does cost a small fee. Kalkomey collects $24.50 for the online course.
The AGFC still offers, and recommends, free in-person classes for boater education. Classes last a six hours, which can be completed in two nights or a full day, depending on the course scheduled.
"I personally feel that people get a lot more out of the in-person classes, especially younger students," Hinson said. "There’s just more opportunity to have questions answered and clear up anything that a person might be confused about. But the new option is definitely more convenient."
Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1986 and of legal age to operate a motorboat or sailboat, must have successfully completed an approved boating education course and carry proof while operating a motorboat or sailboat on Arkansas waters. To operate a motorboat powered by an engine of 10 horsepower or more, a person must be 12 or older, or be under the direct supervision of a person at least 18. To operate a personal watercraft, a person must be 16 or older, be 12 to 15 years old and under the direct supervision of someone at least 18. People younger than 12 may only operate a personal watercraft while under the direct supervision of someone at least 21.
Visit www.agfc.com/boatered for more information about Boater Education in Arkansas.