BOB HARRIS/AFP/Getty Images AUSTIN, Texas — A new course in boating safety is being introduced in the state of Texas, and it’s being billed as a national model.
The course is being billed by the Texas Boating Safety Alliance, which calls itself the nation’s largest boating organization, and aims to educate and motivate people on the importance of safe boating practices.
The group is launching a statewide campaign to introduce the course to boaters in 2019.
“The boating community has really struggled in terms of the education, the resources, and how we communicate with boaters,” said Chris Clements, the executive director of the TBSA.
The goal of the course is to educate people on how to safely operate a boating vessel.
“This is the most important thing for us to be doing in 2019,” Clements said.
The new course is part of a larger initiative to educate boaters on safety and how to operate a vessel in the wake of a string of accidents in which at least four people have died in accidents that involved boaters using the course.
The most recent was in April, when a boat carrying an estimated 30 people overturned while trying to navigate a muddy waterway in southern California.
In June, a man was killed when he crashed his boat on the same stretch of waterway.
The latest incident involved a boater attempting to navigate his boat along the same waterway while the boat’s propeller was bent in a dive.
That incident occurred less than a month after another man drowned while riding his boat in Texas, while a video surfaced showing him in the water, and the state’s coastguard said it was investigating the death.
The Texas Boated Safety Alliance says it has seen an increase in the number of boaters who want to take the course this year, with about 2,000 people signed up so far.
The alliance says it wants to introduce a similar course for 2019.
Boating safety courses have been taught in the U.S. since the 1960s, and have been expanded to include a safety helmet, safety gloves, a steering wheel, and other safety equipment.
The TBSAs new course will focus on safety by the numbers, with lessons on how the crew of a boat should navigate a given area of the water to avoid an accident.
“A lot of people who are involved in boaters are concerned about safety and safety is a top priority, and I think it is important that we keep that in mind,” Cments said.
A similar course was recently introduced in Canada.
The Canadian government is offering the course free of charge.
“Our goal is to reach as many people as possible, and we have been working with a number of people in Canada to get them started,” said Shannon Clements in an email.
“We are hoping that this course will be a model for others to follow and encourage people to take more safety classes.”