Is Online Boater Training Sufficient

Posted: March 11, 2013

By: Rick Delfosse [Trade Only Today]

The controversial issue of online safe boating classes and testing has surfaced again in Connecticut.

Shot down twice before, a bill drafted by the Boating Division of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection has been presented to legislators in Hartford. This new law would recognize at-home online training to be the equivalent of classroom training for both the state Boating Safety Certificate and Hunting (gun and bow hunting and safe trapping) Certificate.

When an online training proposal was first introduced in 2010, over 20 people testified against it and another 20 wrote letters saying it was not a good idea. In an apparent conflict of interest, the hearing officer charged with responding to the testimony was the same person who introduced the concept in the first place. The officer dismissed all of the testimony on a technicality and proceeded to present the bill unopposed. However, in Hartford, the bill faced stiff opposition from outspoken legislators who cited the beneficial effects of their own classroom-based training, and the proposal was dropped.

The next introduction of the concept tried to bypass the legislative review process by including an online course proposal as part of a minor regulation change for a small upstate lake, avoiding the previous scrutiny of the state Legislative Regulation Review Committee. This backdoor tactic was unearthed and killed before it could be included in the regulation changes.

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