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New Boating Education Requirements Taking Place July 1st
Before hitting the lake this summer, Georgia boaters should be aware of the new safety education requirements taking effect on July 1.
Signed into law during the 2013-2014 legislative session, SB 136 addressed the need for more stringent boating safety regulations. Half of the bill lowered the legal limit for a Boating Under the Influence charge, and the other half made boating safety education courses mandatory for any person born on or after January 1, 1998.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources lists a few ways a boater may be exempt from the mandatory education courses. A person is exempt from the education requirements if they fall into the following categories:
- They are licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as the master of a vessel;
- They are operating on a private lake or pond;
- They are from another state and have proof that they’ve completed a boating education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
There are a few different options for completing a boating safety course. If you would like a classroom environment, check out the Wildlife Resources Division of DNR to find office addresses and phone numbers to ask about classes in your area. If you’d prefer to gain your boating education from home, the United States Power Squadron course costs $34.95 and comes with a textbook and DVD materials with your final exam being proctored by a local squadron leader. Lastly, you can pay to take the course online through the websites Boat-Ed or Boater Exam, or take the class for free with Boat U.S. Foundation.
However you decide to take your boating safety course, remember that this new law is in place to save lives and prevent tragedies that could occur on the open waters. Abiding by these education requirements will ensure you and your fellow boaters can enjoy a safe and fun-filled summer.
About the Author
A Georgia native, Rachael Wheeler works as a Web Support Specialist for GeorgiaGov. She writes about a variety of current topics relevant to the Georgia government.