Living in a lake community, water safety, whether boating, swimming or just wading in the shallows, is a priority for all of us.

We would like to share the following information to offer resources, rules and tips to keep our time in the water a safe and enjoyable activity.

Boater Safety

The VT State Police Marine Division is responsible for recreational boating safety on all Vermont’s waterways. They provide boating safety education, patrol Vermont’s waterways and enforce Vermont’s boating laws.

Vermont Boating Education Course – Boating safety education is required for any motor boat operator (12 years of age or older) born after January 1, 1974. You must be a resident of Vermont to take the online course. In-person courses are scheduled at a variety of times in various locations.

Nonresidents of Vermont (reciprocity): Your state’s NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators) approved course as well as any NASBLA approved boating safety course is accepted by Vermont.

Boating education is currently required in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

No one under 10 years of age may receive a certificate.

Those under 12 years of age must take a classroom course.

Enforcement – Vermont law enforcement officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them by following the laws and guidelines.

Carry the Card: Vessel operators who are required to have a Boater Education Card must carry the card on board the vessel and have it available for inspection by an enforcement officer.

Penalty: Not carrying your Boater Education Card when one is required can result in a fine.

Is the Boating Card the same as the Boating License? The Vermont Boating Safety Education Certification Card is proof that you have successfully completed all of the components of an approved Boating safety course and allows you to go boating. Because the Boating education card or certificate does not expire and does not need to be renewed, it is not called the Vermont Boating License.

Even if not required by law to get the Vermont boating education card, many boaters take the boat safety course in order to save on their PWC or boat insurance.

Do your part to make boating in Vermont an enjoyable pastime! Become an educated, responsible boater by completing the Boat Vermont course, and practice what you learn.

Reciprocity – All states, territories, and provinces will recognize boating education cards that meet NASBLA requirements and Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Cards that meet Transport Canada’s requirements. (This is known as reciprocity.)

To learn more, view the schedule of upcoming in-person courses or to sign up for the Vermont online course click here.

Personal Property on the Shore – ID Reminder:

Please be sure that items you leave at your shoreline have your name on them.  Lightweight boats and dock sections often fall prey to windy weather.  A simple way to label items is to recycle beach or dump passes and affix them to items near the shore.

Swimming Safety

The following tips are provided by the Vermont Emergency Preparedness, Response & Injury Prevention Division for Safe Swimming and Water Activities

  • Always swim with a buddy. Never swim alone or allow someone to swim alone.
  • Do not leave young children unattended near the water. Never trust a child to watch another child. Assign an adult to be a Water Watcher. This person is always watching every swimmer to be sure they are safe, and is not distracted with a cell phone, eating or reading a book. Adults can take turns being the watcher so the other adults can relax and have fun with the group.
  • Drowning is not like in the movies where actors splash about and yell for help. It is swift and silent, so you may not see that a child or adult is in trouble until it is too late. Pay attention.
  • Learn to swim, and teach your children to swim. But, even as children gain good water skills, don’t let up on your oversight because they still need supervision from an adult.
  • Make sure that others in your group swim in areas appropriate for their swimming ability.
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of young children.
  • Avoid alcohol. Do not drink and swim.
  • In case of an emergency, dial 9-1-1.
  • Become an ambassador for water safety with a class from the American Red Cross

For more tips and resources, click here