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Abstract

Recreational boating is a popular leisure activity and possibly the least regulated of all forms of transport. To reduce the number of recreational boating injuries and incidents, educational measures are important and mandatory boating education and training is recommended. The Recreational Skippers Ticket (RST) was introduced in Western Australia (WA) in 2006 so that people in charge of a recreational vessel have a minimum level of skill and knowledge needed to protect themselves and their passenger and to share the water safely with others. This objective of this study was to monitor the uptake of the RST, to assess its influence upon boater’s perceptions of change in their behavior and explore factors associated with completion of RST. Using the WA database of registered recreational vessels, a sample of 1002 boaters was recruited to participate in a telephone survey in 2008. A response rate of 47.5% was achieved. More than one-half had completed their RST and of these, more than one-third reported that obtaining their RST had changed their behavior. Those boaters who had completed their RST were more likely to be male, were more experienced boaters, and were a member of a boating association. While the RST has increased awareness among recreational vessel owners, further monitoring is needed to explore its influence upon attitude, knowledge and behavior of recreational boaters.

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