Calls for boating training after 3 die near Charlotte

Staff Writer

Boating groups have urged the state to require safety education in the wake of three deaths caused by boat crashes near Charlotte during the July 4 holiday weekend.

North Carolina requires boating safety training only for those who were born in 1988 or later. North Carolina is one of 26 states that require boating courses based on the age of the person, The Charlotte Observer reports (http://bit.ly/1eBVxyQ).

North Carolina had no training requirements until 2009.

The Lake Norman Marine Commission said training should be required for all boat drivers.

"I know people who grew up on the lake and feel like they know what they're doing," said executive director Ron Shoultz. "If you feel like you're safe on the water, you should be able to take a test and pass it."

The Wildlife Resources Commission said 20 of the 23 boating deaths this year involved drivers who were 30 or older and were exempt from the current training requirement.

North Carolina has logged 21 boating-related deaths for this year, the commission reports. The U.S. Coast Guard says the state had 26 deaths last year, fourth-highest nationally, among the 41 states reporting figures to the Coast Guard

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