New laws requiring Boater safety courses will now be required for some Georgia residents. The new boater education law will promote operator safety, increase awareness of potential hazards and hopefully help save lives.
Georgia Senate Bill 136 was signed into law on April 23, 2013. Part of the new Georgia Law, made mandatory a Boating Education Course effective July 1, 2014 for anyone born after January 1, 1998. This means that anyone that is under 18 years of age on January 1, 2014 will have to take an approved Boating Education Course. If you are 18 years of age or older on January 1, 2014, you would be exempt from the Boater Education Course (except when renting a vessel).
Under Georgia Code Section 52-7-22
The changes to the Boat Education Law were brought about after a child fatality that was attributed to a personal watercraft (PWC) operator without experience or knowledge of the PWC struck and killed a child after operating too close to the child. The new PWC and Boater Education Law Kile Glover Boat Education Law was named in the child’s honor. The intent of the new PWC and Boater Education Law is to have reasonable restrictions on people operating a vessel on a public waterway via education and child protection.
The signed laws read as follows:
Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 52-7-22, relating to safety and educational programs, as follows:
52-7-22 The department is authorized to inaugurate a comprehensive boating safety and boating shall establish a comprehensive boating education program and to may seek the cooperation of boatmen, the federal government, and other states. The department may accept moneys made available under federal safety programs and may issue safety boating certificates to persons who complete courses in boating safety education.
(b)Effective July 1, 2014, and except as otherwise provided by this chapter, anyone born on or after
January 1, 1998, who operates any motorized vessel on the waters of this state shall complete a boating education course approved by the department prior to the operation of such vessel.
(c)A person shall be exempt from the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section if he or she is:
(1) Licensed by the United States Coast Guard as a master of a vessel;
(2) Operating such vessel on a private lake or pond; or
(3) A nonresident who has in his or her possession proof that he or she has completed a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators approved boater education course or the equivalency from another state.”
The new Georgia Boat Education Law is designed to educate and provide vessel operators an overview of basic boating safety laws, procedures and best practices. The education of inexperienced vessel operators hopefully will help protect the general public when on Georgia’s waters.
If you are interested in signing up for a course in your area, you may visit the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary website Zip Code Locator to find a course in your area.
About the attorney: Anne Bishop is a Georgia Lawyer with A. Bishop Law in Gainesville, Georgia and handles various DUI / DWI, Marijuana Arrests and other Georgia Criminal Defense matters. The law office of A. Bishop Law can assist clients throughout Georgia including: Hall County (Gainesville, Oakwood, Flowery Branch), Jackson County (Jefferson, Braselton) White County (Helen, Cleveland), Lumpkin County (Dahlonega), Dawson County (Dawsonville), Habersham County (Demorest, Cornelia), and all of Northeast Georgia.
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