As we kick off the Memorial Day weekend, many of you plan to spend it relaxing on a boat.
Sounds nice, but keep this in mind: the deadline for a new boating safety law takes effect in less than six months.
From the seasoned sailor to the nautical novice, everyone who operates a power boat will need to take a state certified boating safety course by fall 2014.
"Just like you're operating a car on the road, we want everyone on the road to have the same understanding of their responsibilities," said Clifford Inn of the Division of Boating & Ocean Recreation.
You can get them by taking the class online on websites like Boatus.org for free. Others cost up to $50 and can take five hours. You can also take them in person with the Hawaii Power Squadron or Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Though the classroom is usually indoors, instructor Jeffrey Maltzman from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary took us on the water to show us firsthand what boaters will learn in their nine-hour course.
From knowing when to sound the horn to having the right amount life jackets on board, the course teaches you the basics of on the boat.
"You should regularly check the expiration dates on your flares. They are good for 40 months after they are manufactured. That comes a lot quicker than you think," said Maltzman.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources approved course informs all operators the traffic rules of the water, like the safe way to pass a boat moving at a slower rate. It also teaches you the navigational alerts and signs.
"The work boats are displaying day shapes. We'll actually teach you in the navigation rules those day shapes are actually telling us. Those boats, because of the nature of their work, are restricted from moving over. So, we know if we were driving full speed near them, they can't get out of the way," said Maltzman.
DLNR estimates there are 30,000 relay operators in the state. Whether it's online or through the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, he states the law will be enforced Nov. 10.
Maltzman says the course is $35.
DLNR says Windward Community College could offer a boating safety course as early as the end of the month.