Boaters and jet ski riders will be required to take a safety course

Posted at 5:46 PM, Jul 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-12 20:46:03-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - There are concerns a new law designed to increase the safety of people while boating has a dangerous loophole.

Beginning January 1, anyone age 20 or under who will be driving a water vehicle, such as a boat or jet ski, will be required to take a safety course. The age requirement will increase until 2025, at which point everyone will be mandated to take the course.  While it is not technically a boat license, it has the same effect.

However, the law specifically leaves out renters. This means anyone can rent a boat and take it out on local waterways, whether they know how to operate it or not.

Andy Kurtz is the owner of Seaforth Boat Rental, one of San Diego's largest rental companies.  He was initially leery of adding new regulations, but now supports the idea. "I enjoy boating in San Diego and I don't want to be out on the water boating next to someone who doesn't know what they're doing," he told 10News.

Kurtz requires anyone who rents from Seaforth to get basic safety training. His employees instruct renters on key boating laws, such as who has the right of way, and where they are allowed to operate.

Kurtz thinks all companies should give instruction, but fears some do not. "I would hope that most places do. But if we say most, that means there are some that don't. So why is it when we've gone through this trouble of making people educated that we're leaving that loophole?"