PANAMA CITY - With summer just around the corner, officials are gearing up for boating season.
Florida ranks highest in the nation for boating-related accidents.
The local MarineMax is teaming up with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary to keep everyone safe on the waters.
About a dozen people showed up to the course Saturday afternoon.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 71 percent of boaters are not properly educated.
The course teaches new boaters safety practices, operational skills and offers maintenance advice.
Officials with the FFWCC say 700 serious boating accidents happened in Florida in 2012, including 55 deaths.
There are almost 900,000 registered vessels in the state.
Twice as many boating-related fatalities occur in the month of July than in any other summer month.
The safe boating class meets again next month.
The course is $35 per person.
To attend this event, RSVP no later than April 30, 2014, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org