ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Good snow this winter means New Mexico’s lakes and rivers are expecting high water levels. But that also means you need to be extra careful if you’re going out on a boat.

New Mexico’s State Parks Division is offering a free boater education course. It’s eight hours and is offered online and in person.

“All motorboat, personal watercraft, and sailboat operators born on or after January 1, 1989, are required by law to complete a boating safety course to operate on New Mexico waters,” Scott Chalmers, the boating safety and education program coordinator for the State Parks, said in a press release. “Whether you’re new to boating or have captained a watercraft for years, education is key to becoming and remaining a safer, more knowledgeable boater.”

To sign up for a free course, you can go to the State Parks Division website. There’s also an option for a course in Spanish. If you pass the state’s course, you’ll get a Boater Education Card that is valid for life.

Most boating deaths in the state occurred where the captain hadn’t taken a safety course, the State Parks Division says. In addition to taking a safety course, the state recommends wearing life jackets, avoiding alcohol while boating, maintaining a safe speed, checking the weather, and making sure someone on land knows where you are.