Georgia’s Boating Laws Change July 1, 2014

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

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

Tough new boating laws take effect in Georgia on Tuesday, July 1st 2014

For example:  All motorized vessel operators born on or after January 1, 1998, must complete a boater education course to legally operate a boat on state waters in Georgia.

“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.”

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division has a few more examples of safety information you must know before operating a vessel on public waters:

  • life jacket safety
  • the 100-foot law
  • minimum age limits for boat operators
  • boating under the influence
  • simple rules of navigation.

There are a few exemptions to the new law requiring boater education courses:

  • A person licensed by the Coast Guard as a master of a vessel;
  • A person operating on a private pond or lake;
  • A non-resident who has in his or her possession proof that he or she has completed a NASBLA-approved boater education course or equivalency examination from another state.

There are three ways to take a boater education course: in a classroom, online or through a home study program.

Click Here for Boater Education Course Information

Several aspects of the new boating laws in Georgia pertain to Senate Bill 136, passed by the Georgia Senate and signed by Governor Deal in 2013.

Click Here for Info on Gov. Deal Signing SB136