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Wise Prize Winner Seeks Boater Education
HOUSTON — Adhering to boating safety laws is the single greatest factor in reducing boating accidents, injuries and fatalities, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Each year TPWD coordinates hundreds of classes across the state. If you plan on operating a boat, whether you own one, rent one or win one, a boating education class is a good idea.
The need for boater education was quickly recognized by Houston-area veterinarian Julie Henson-Hiser, who registered for class after she won a new Blue Wave 220 Super Tunnel in the 2004 State of Texas Angler’s Rodeo (STAR) tournament this year. The private, non-profit group Coastal Conservation Association of America holds the contest and offers big prizes to anglers who catch tagged redfish.
“I was so thrilled that I ran through the marsh, kicking mud up in the air and on my husband,” said Henson-Hiser. Fortunately, her excitement didn’t stop her from acting responsibly.
“She said she was s novice to the boating experience and desired some training so she could actually run the boat for herself,— said Warren Steffen, a Boater Education Instructor at TPWD.
Henson-Hiser’s husband drives a boat, but she didn’t assume she had driving know-how because she’d ridden in one. There are distinct differences between automobile laws and boating laws, said Jack Dyess, Boater Education Coordinator at TPWD.
“Unfortunately, most boaters seem to think that because they know the laws pertaining to the operation of automobiles, they somehow know the laws pertaining to boat operations,” said Dyess. “This is similar to thinking that because one knows how to speak English they automatically know how to speak Swahili.”
For more information about boater education, go to (http://tpwd.texas.gov/edu/boated/). For a list of boating laws, go to (http://tpwd.texas.gov/boat/wsdigest.phtml).
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