Teen boat safety classes now available through CPW as new state law goes into effect

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
On a summer evening at Horsetooth Reservoir west of Fort Collins, a pleasure boat passes by the sunset’s reflection. July 27, 2022.

A law signed by Colorado legislators in 2022 will require teenagers to take a boat safety class before operating a vessel on state waters starting next summer. 

To prepare for the new law’s implementation, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will soon offer monthly boating safety classes for people 14 to 17 years old. The first one is set to start Nov. 4.

Through the $15 course, teenagers will have to study a 60-page manual, similar to a driver's license preparation guide, before completing a review session and a written exam.

“Not only will the material help students stay smart and safe on the water, it can also save participants 10-15 percent on boat insurance,” CPW Ranger Charlee Olson said in a release.

The state law goes into effect two years after Colorado's deadliest year on record for recreational drownings. About 40 people drowned in Colorado bodies of water last year, surpassing a record previously set in 2020. Many of those deaths were boat passengers or paddleboarders who weren't wearing personal floatation devices.