Ohio’s Spring Aboard Campaign Offers Boating Education for All Ages


Ohio Department of Natural Resources



Classes and online courses available before boating season begins

COLUMBUS – Preparing for the boating season couldn’t be any easier! During the week of March 18-24, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) are encouraging boaters to Spring Aboard by enrolling in a boating education course. This national boating safety campaign was created to help educate boaters and reduce the number of serious boating accidents.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, statistics show that when the level of operator education was known, 77 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.

In Ohio, a boater education course is required for anyone wanting to operate a boat over 10 horsepower who was born after Jan. 1, 1982. Ohio’s boater requirement can be met by taking and passing an approved boating education course (classroom, online or home study), or by taking and passing a proficiency exam. For a summary of Ohio’s regulations and available courses, go to: watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/coursesearch.

To kick off the boating season, free classroom courses are being offered around the state on Saturday, March 24:

  • Central Ohio – Alum Creek State Park, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 740-548-5490 or email alumcreek.watercraft@dnr.state.oh.us to reserve your place.
  • Northeast Ohio – Shaker Lake Nature Center, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 216-361-1212 or email cleveland.watercraft@dnr.state.oh.us to reserve your place.
  • Northwest Ohio – Maumee Bay State Park, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 419-836-6003 or email maumeebay.watercraft@dnr.state.oh.us to reserve your place.
  • Southeast Ohio – Scioto Watercraft Field Office, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 740-353-7668 or email michael.campbell@dnr.state.oh.us to reserve your place.
  • Southwest Ohio – East Fork State Park, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 513-734-2730 or email cincinnati.watercraft@dnr.state.oh.us to reserve your place.

Working in partnership with the states, many course providers, including Ace Boater, BoatEd and BoaterExam, will be offering course discounts for students who enroll in or complete a course during the Spring Aboard campaign. Course providers and offerings vary between states so individuals should check with their local course provider or state boating agency to find out which courses are accepted in their area. Ohio requires that completed courses meet the national boating education standards for powerboat rental or operation, as verified by NASBLA. To ensure a course qualifies, look for the NASBLA-approved logo.

The Spring Aboard campaign is open to participation by all states, territories, boating education organizations, instructors and course providers. For more information about the Spring Aboard campaign, visit springaboard.org.

More than 30 State Park Beaches Open as Dog Exercise Areas Until May 18

Park visitors are encouraged to exercise their dogs this spring at 32 state park beaches, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). New this year, several state park beaches have been temporarily designated as “dog exercise” areas, effective now through Friday, May 18. Dogs under control of their owner or handler in the designated dog exercise areas will not be required to be on a leash while the designation is in effect.

On Saturday, May 19, all public park beaches will resume normal operational rules, which includes no pets on the beach or in the public swimming area.

The following state parks will offer seasonal dog exercise areas open daily during normal park hours:

  • Central Ohio – Alum Creek, A.W. Marion, Buckeye Lake, Deer Creek, Delaware, Lake Logan and Madison Lake.
  • Northeast Ohio – Findley, Geneva, Guilford Lake, Jefferson Lake, Lake Milton, Mosquito Lake, Portage Lakes, Punderson, Pymatuning and West Branch.
  • Northwest Ohio – Maumee Bay.
  • Southeast Ohio – Salt Fork.
  • Southwest Ohio – Buck Creek, Caesar Creek, Cowan Lake, East Fork, Grand Lake St. Marys, Hueston Woods, Indian Lake, Kiser Lake, Lake Loramie, Paint Creek, Pike Lake, Rocky Fork and Stonelick.

The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft provides exceptional outdoor recreation and boating opportunities by balancing outstanding customer service, education, protection and conservation of Ohio’s state parks and waterways.

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Ohio Department of Natural Resources

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.