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    Member Scott Eveland's Avatar
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    Default Boating Safety Classes

    It is the busy time of the year for boating safety instructors--both staff and volunteers.

    There are a bunch of upcoming classes with more being added all the time. I see classes scheduled for Norfolk, Alliance, North Platte, Ogallala, Scottsbluff, Lincoln, Kearney, Beaver Lake, Grand Island, Omaha, Cedar Bluffs, Bennington, Kearney and more just in the next 30 days!

    A reminder that boater education is now required of any motorboat operator born after 12/31/1985. The minimum age is still 14. There are a few folks who are in their 20's that--for whatever reason--didn't take the class when they were younger who may need to take the class now. If so, you might consider the "Option B" courses which take less time.

    For a complete list, visit:
    http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/Boating/guides/boating/BGeducate.asp

    Scott Eveland, Boating Safety Officer, NGPC
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    Scott,

    Honest question. When is Nebraska going to get on par with IA and MN when it comes to the Boater Saftey Course? Specifically the online option?

    When I took the course in JUN 2010, you had to go to the 6 hour course followed by the proxy administered test. Which, I'm sorry to say, was a total waste of a Saturday for me. The USCG auxillary instructors were nice, knowledgeable guys, and I could tell some of the people there were new to boating and honestly clueless and did need the class. I however, was bored to tears and and counted every second down until I could take the test and go home.

    I'm sorry, this is probably coming off rather harsh. No offense intended. There are alot of people who NEED these courses, but a test out option would have been nice.

    Thanks for hearing my gripe!
    ~Change is the only thing that never does~

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    The USCG auxillary instructors were nice, knowledgeable guys, and I could tell some of the people there were new to boating and honestly clueless and did need the class. I however, was bored to tears and and counted every second down until I could take the test and go home.
    After recently completing the Class I can tell you that "boring" was NEVER an issue with our Instructor and even though the Class was very serious, it still was ENTERTAINING as well.

    I'd certainly suggest your experience was because of the instructor, and NOT the Course!

    Harold F.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I'd certainly suggest your experience was because of the instructor, and NOT the Course!

    Harold F.
    Not really, like I said, the instructors were nice guys, and knew their stuff. They just had to teach down to the audience.

    They finally had to stop calling on me to answer questions because I got tired of everyone else just sitting there, not answering, making my day longer.

    I was lucky enough to have the benefit of having been on a boat since I was 6 weeks old, having a old salty dog sailor for a grandfather with a penchant for the rules to teach me, and my 4 years in the the Navy myself as my life long instruction.

    When we finally got to the test I was the first one done and I only got one question wrong on the 60 question test. And it was a trick question, I swear!

    But we weren't just there for me, the other people in the class needed to learn in 6 hours what I had been taught over 30 years. I just wish there was a online test out option.
    ~Change is the only thing that never does~

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    Member Scott Eveland's Avatar
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    I'm sorry your experience in class was disappointing. My experience has been that most adults in my class tell me afterwards thay they still learned plenty from the course. However, people's backgrounds vary and it sounds like you are a very experienced recreational boater.

    As an adult, who I assume was not under the age of 18 in 2010, you could have completed any one of the online courses offered for a fee by various vendors on the internet. The in-person testing requirement is only for those who are required to take the class by law.

    Nebraska law spells out that the course offered to those who are required to take the course (now anybody born after 12/31/1985) take the test by "proctored exam." This is set out in regulation--authorized by statute by the Legislature, approved by the commission, secretary of state and governor.

    In addition to the six hour class, there are test-out options for those who do not wish to take the full course. I'm sorry you were unable to find one in your area at that time. I am now doing more test-outs than full classes--mostly due to the change in the law which means there are a number of adults, who--for whatever reason--didn't take the class as required when they were younger, and now have to complete the class. The majority of our volunteers still do the full classroom courses.

    I'm not sure that a change to online testing for those required to take the class would be supported in NE, as some states have eliminated their online testing due to fraud. The problem with online testing is that you don't know who is on the other end of the computer taking the test. For example, I had a parent from a neighboring state flat out tell me their took the test for their kid. Incidentally, that state no longer allows online testing for those required to take the course. (Not because of me, but because of the fraud they discovered on their own.)

    So, until someone figures out a way to prevent the fraud, I don't see across-the-board online testing as an option in Nebraska. Hunter Ed and Driver Ed programs still require you to show up in person.

    Online testing is still an option for those who don't have to take the class, but otherwise, if you have to take it in NE you are required to take the test in person.

    However, those decisions are made well above my level. If you feel strongly about the issue, you are welcome to pursue a change in the law.

    Hope that helps,
    Scott
    Last edited by Scott Eveland; 03-21-2012 at 09:59 PM.
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    Scott,

    Thank you for taking the time to respond and explain. I guess I didn't realize the fraud issue and I can see how that could be a problem. I can't say I have an easy answer to suggest. Unfortunately, people cannot be trusted. Which is why in regards to boating (and many other things in life) grandpa taught me, "Always assume the other guy has no idea what he's doing."

    I don't want to say my class experience was "dissapointing". It was just a tad on the, well... boring side for me. Not that there weren't some "Oh yeah, I forgot that!" and "Huh, so that's what that sign means." kind of moments. I must admit I was quite engaged during instruction on river saftey and rules as I am not an experienced river boater.

    I was born before 1985, so I didn't have to get the course. However, at the time I wanted to rent a boat from Offutt AFB Equipment Rental and they required it. Long story short, ending up buying a boat instead. I was still glad I took the course, and it gets me a slight discount on my boater insurance.

    I was just curious as to why NE didn't offer the class, knowing that MN does. It just seemed like it would be simpler, but it sounds like as usual the bad apple ruins the bunch.

    Thanks again for your response Scott!
    ~Change is the only thing that never does~

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