May 3 is the beginning of boating season and those intending to operate a powered watercraft are required by law to possess a Washington State Boater Education Card. The Bonney Lake Police Department is partnering with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary to provide classes for those in need of obtaining one.
The law dictates an education card is required for anyone age 59 or younger, operating a vessel with 15 horsepower or more. The operator must have the card on his or her person while on the water. Violation of the law is punishable by an $87 fine.
Violators are often given a 60-day grace period to take the course and provide proof to a judge, but the class is about more than simply obeying the law; it’s an important component of responsible recreation, Bonney Lake Sgt. Ryan Boyle said. Boaters ensure the safety of themselves and others on the lake by taking responsibility for knowing the law.
“The whole point behind the course is to educate the public. It’s a very important class. It keeps you safe on the water and familiarizes you with all the laws and how to help your fellow boaters,” Boyle said.
Three state-approved classes will be offered at the Bonney Lake Public Safety Building, 18421 Veterans Memorial Drive. Cost is $25 per person and each participant will be eligible to receive their card upon completion.
The eight-hour classes will be March 8, April 5 and May 3. To register or obtain additional information, please contact Commander Jim Ehnborn by email, firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 206-658-7887.
The Bonney Lake Marine Services Unit will emphasize the cards this summer on Lake Tapps, Boyle said. To avoid a fine and maximize the fun to be had during boating season, ensure all boat operators carry a boater education card.