Students and staff members in the Cooperative Research Units must pass a boating safety course in order to operate research boats. This course, administered by a qualified instructor certified by the U.S. Geological Survey, consists of a written test and field examination.
In the field part of this course, students are required to safely maneuver boats through "obstacle courses," dock boats, back up trailers, and load/unload boats. The course also teaches basic knots, fire safety, proper use of life jackets, and how to react in survival situations, including how to rescue someone who has fallen overboard.
This comprehensive course allows those familiar with boats to hone their skills, while teaching inexperienced boaters the basics of marine safety.