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Lansing – If you’re a boater or want to become one, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages you to enroll in a safety course before hitting the water.

Boaters born after June 30, 1996, and most personal watercraft operators are required to have a safety education certificate.

The U.S. Coast Guard says many of the deaths in boating accidents around the nation have happened on vessels where the operator never received boating education.

DNR boating law administrator Tom Wanless says users of non-motorized craft such as canoes and kayaks should take a class because the number of accidents involving them is rising.

A national campaign to promote boater education runs from March 18-24. During that time, some course providers may offer discounts or other incentives.

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