Georgia's boater education law to take effect

Published 06/16 2014 06:43PM

Updated 06/16 2014 08:06PM

It's a law some states, including Alabama, already have in place.   And it will soon take effect for people in Georgia.

"What we've done, starting July 1, is anybody born after January 1, 1998, will have to have a boater education course to operate any motorized vessel," said Corporal Steve Robinson, who works for Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement.

It’s called the Kile Glover Boater Education Law, named after 11-year-old Kile Glover, who was killed in a jet skiing accident in Georgia, and it includes people using motorized jet skis and Class A boats on public waters.

The state wants to prevent accidents and drownings, events he says happen way too often.

"We have a lot of people out here who have never operated a boat, don't know anything about a boat, and get in them and go,” Robinson said.  “And we've had a lot of problems."

Kids between the ages of 12 and 15 who don't have the boater education must have an adult with them.

"In the past, 12 to 15 [year-olds] could operate a boat as long as an adult was in the vicinity.  Now, they actually have to be on the vessel,” said Robinson.

The law also requires kids ages 13 and under to wear a life jacket on any boat not anchored down.

And members of Georgia’s law enforcement say they're prepared to enforce the law.

"This will be a misdemeanor,” said Robinson.  So it will be set by each county, whatever county you're in at the time.  And the fines can range anywhere from $50.00 to $1,000.00."

And while the course is not required for people ages 16 and up, law enforcement recommends it for everyone.

The boater safety courses can be taken online or anywhere classes are offered around the state.

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