Saturday, January 01, 2005

Boater education in effect Jan. 1

On Jan. 1, 2005, Tennessee will implement its new mandatory boater education law across the state.
This new law passed by the legislature mandates that any person born after Jan. 1, 1989, must show proof of successful completion of a course in safe boating that is approved by the National Association of State Law Administrators (NASBLA) and accepted by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) before they may operate any vessel subject to registration on any waters in Tennessee.
The Tennessee Boater Education Program involves two main components.
The first component is the course itself. There are many NASBLA approved courses for people to choose from.
The main courses that TWRA will accept will be the U.S. Power Squadron, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, www.boat-ed.com and the TWRA Boat Tennessee Home Study Course.
There is no cost for some of the courses, while others charge a fee to cover the cost of the materials needed for the course.
The second component of the Tennessee Boater Education Program is that once the student has completed one of the approved courses, he or she must take a 60 questioned monitored exam provided by the TWRA Boating Division.
To gain entry to take the exam the student must first go to any license agent and prepay a $10 fee and the receipt obtained from this transaction will be the student's "ticket" to take the exam.
This $10 transaction receipt is valid until the student passes the exam. If the student does not have this receipt, then the student cannot take the exam.
The 60-question exam takes an average of 40-50 minutes to complete.
When the student passes the exam, he or she will be issued a temporary certificate and a TWRA-issued wallet card will be received within a couple of weeks.
Student may also challenge the exam without having to take the course, but they are still required to pay the $10 fee to gain entry to take the exam.
Information for the location, dates and times for courses and exams can be found at the TWRA web site, www.tnwildlife.org, or call 1-800-837-6012.

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