CRAVEN COUNTY, NC – More and more people are turning to boating as a way to enjoy the outdoors during the pandemic.*

However, the increase in new boaters means more crowded waterways and more boating accidents caused by inexperienced boat operators.

According to David Fort, Vice Commander for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, when you add several more paddle boarders, kayakers, and small boats into crowded waterways, there will be a lot of accidents over the weekend. Mr. Fort stated that in North Carolina, there had been an increase in calls to the Coast Guard. He believes the calls rose by 10% to 15% in 2020, and this trend has been reported across America.

Mr. Fort believes the biggest reason for the rise in boating accidents is the pandemic. The Coast Guard has not been able to hold very many in-person boating safety courses. The Coast Guard does offer online courses, but the courses are not as helpful, and the instructors usually perform vessel safety examinations.

North Carolina does not require new boaters to take a boating safety course if the boater’s boat motor is under ten horsepower. Also, the state does not require any type of driver’s license to operate a boat.

The Coast Guard reminds boaters to always carry a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, and enough life jackets for each occupant on the boat. Boating laws change from state-to-state, and it is important for all boaters to check the local boating rules in their state.

Most people are unaware that people operating paddle boats, kayaks, and jet skis are also required to follow certain boating guidelines.

For a free boating course or to schedule a free boat safety check, simply visit

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