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Boating safety classes scheduled for spring

Boating safety education has never been more important as waterways become more crowded and, in Washington, as boat safety certification is becoming mandatory.

Agencies, groups and businesses are rising to the occasion by sponsoring boating safety courses. The eight-hour America's Boating Course taught by the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Spokane Sail & Power Squadron satisfies Washington's mandatory requirement, which begins this year with the first phase, requiring boat operators under 21 years old to be certified.These courses also may qualify boaters for discounts on insurance.

Scheduled courses include:

April 6: America's Boating Course, eight hours, taught by Coast Guard Auxiliary, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Cabela's in Post Falls. Cost: $35. Info: (208) 777-6300.

April 12: America's Boating Course, eight hours, taught by Coast Guard Auxiliary, 5500 N. Government Way in Coeur d'Alene. Cost $35 or $45 for two sharing book. Info: (208) 818-1546.

April 15: America's Boating Course, eight-hour course taught by Spokane Sail & Power Squadron over four consecutive Tuesday evenings at 925 W. Jackson. Cost: $40. Preregister: (509) 328-6165 or e-mail JimRoeber@comcast.net.

April 26, May 24: Free six-hour boating safety course taught by Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and Kootenai County Sherriff Department. (May not satisfy Washington requirements) 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at State Parks regional headquarters, 2885 Kathleen Ave. in Coeur d'Alene. Preregister: (208) 514-2417 or kjackson@idpr.idaho.gov.

Online classes that satisfy Washington's requirement are available for home study on the Internet for $15; www.boat-ed.com/wa.

Private classes are available for about $40 a person, including manuals, through the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, (509) 921-0449 or e-mail safeboatingclasses@ yahoo.com.

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