When considering an airboat ride, make sure you and your family are in capable hands. Florida Airboating’s Captain Stuart shares the history of why this new law matters.

Ellie’s Law rooted in an unfortunate airboating accident

All right I want to say a little bit about a new law we got out here in the Everglades called Ellie’s Law and it came about unfortunately because a young lady celebrating her graduation from college was tragically killed in an air boating accident south of here. They came around the corner. There was a boat stuck in the trail. They tried to go around it. The boat turned over and unfortunately turned over on top of her. And by the time they got her out it was too late. And, some laws got changed because of that.

Airboat captains now require special certification to drive

Before that, you didn’t have to have any special certification to drive an airboat. A lot of us are Coast Guard license captains. A lot of us aren’t. But they came up with the law, where now, starting yesterday June 1st, you have to have passed a three day Fish and Wildlife Association approved boating course, where they actually take you out you drive the boat you take classroom.

They make sure that you’re capable of driving the boat and you have to keep those certifications on you. This is mine. But that’s what they look like. It’s just a certificate saying that you passed the course. And also you have to keep with you a copy of a current CPR course. And they normally last from a year to two years. I think this is a good thing and it’s only going to be a couple of years till every airboat or and every boater is going to have to go through the same thing.

I think it’s a good thing, because it’s going to weed out all the fly by night and it’s going to make everybody else more well-trained. It’s not an easy course. You have to pass a written test. You have to pass a physical test driving the boat. And I think if the boat, although there are a lot of fun, they’re very dangerous they can be it’s operated improperly. A lot of guys like to slide around corners at 60 miles an hour and have fun and party. But it’s a serious business.

Better safety for all us when enjoying the beauty of the Everglades

We’re going in the right direction with this. It will only be a matter of a couple of years till they require a Coast Guard’s captain’s license and along with these two certifications. Not entirely a bad thing. It helps give you guys more peace of mind, knowing that we are trained and we have been vetted and tested.

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