FWC Introduces New Airboat Course Requirements

FWC has approved three providers to offer the newly required Airboat Operators Course.
FWC has approved three providers to offer the newly required Airboat Operators Course.

SEBASTIAN – Starting today, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has approved three providers to offer the newly required Airboat Operators Course for airboat operators carrying passengers for hire.

USA Marine Training, Peace River Charters and TAC Training are the first three companies to have been approved to offer the course. Contact information for these providers can be found at the FWC Boating website. Airboat operators interested in taking the course should contact these companies directly for details.

“We’re pleased these providers have created courses that meet or exceed the FWC’s standards for this new course,” said Maj. Robert Rowe, FWC’s section leader for Boating and Waterways. “It is our hope that even more providers will apply for course approval so there are plenty of opportunities for members of our airboat for hire industry to take this course.”

The legislative revision to s.327.391, Florida Statutes, which goes into effect July 1, 2019, requires all persons operating an airboat carrying one or more passengers for hire on state waters to have photographic ID, proof of successful completion of boater safety education or USCG Captain’s license, proof of a commission-approved airboat operator course and proof of completion of CPR and first-aid courses.

FWC staff worked with the airboat education industry, stakeholders and gathered public input to develop the minimum course requirements for instructor qualifications, airboat operators course requirements, basic course topics, proof of completion, and refresher course requirements. The requirements are supported by the airboat education industry, stakeholders, and the public as indicated by meetings with the Florida Airboat Association and members of the public.

Additional information for those operating airboats carrying passengers for hire can go to Airboat Operators Carrying Passengers for Hire.

For more information, individuals may contact Precious Boatwright or Brian Rehwinkel at 850-488-5600.

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland. When he was age 9, his parents moved to Jupiter, Florida. Andy spent several years at various radio & television stations in Florida such as WLIZ, WFLX-FOX 29, WIRK, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and WJNO to name a few. In 1994, Andy made a career change to computer programming and worked for several technology companies (two are Fortune 500) in Atlanta, Georgia. However, Andy returned to Florida and settled in the small town of Sebastian in 2002. In 2005, he returned to the broadcasting news sector and eventually joined our news team in 2016 as editor in chief. Andy's family has lived in Sebastian for more than 45 years.