New Boating Laws Take Effect in Georgia

DNR Rangers on patrol at Lake Allatoona. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

DNR Rangers on patrol at Lake Allatoona. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

As of July 1, 2014, new boating laws take effect in Georgia regarding mandatory boater education for young people.

As of May 15, 2013, legislation required all boats to have personal flotation devices (PFD) for each person on board.

Making young people under 13 years old wear a everyone under the age of 13 must wear a U. S. Coast Guard approved PFD while onboard any moving boat, except for when a child is in a fully enclosed cabin.

No, PFDs do not look cool to young people.  Yes, adults will be ticketed if passengers on their boats are not properly wearing life preservers / PFDs.

Now, a boater education course must be successfully completed before operators born on or after January 1, 1998 may drive a vessel.

“In an effort to provide a mechanism for ensuring that Georgia boaters are knowledgeable, boaters will be required to complete a boating education course,” says DNR Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver, assistant director of Law Enforcement. “After all, tragedy can happen quickly and making an effort to learn boating laws, rules and regulations can potentially save a life – including your own.”

There are three ways to take the mandatory boating education course: in a classroom, online or in a home study program.

Most boat rental facilities offer the course, which must be passed, before young Georgians can operate a vessel on public waters.

You may choose to ignore these laws, but law enforcement officers will be enforcing them.

Click Here for New Boating Laws in GA

Click Here for DNR Boating Regulations