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Boater education becomes mandatory

Effective for some vessel operators after July 1

June 17, 2014
SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — Beginning July 1, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Law Enforcement Division is requiring boater education courses for all vessel operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1998.

"In an effort to provide a mechanism for ensuring that Georgia boaters are knowledgeable, boaters will be required to complete a boating education course," said 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."

Senate Bill 136, introduced in the state by Sen. Jack Murphy (R-Cumming) and Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), mandates new boater education requirements in Georgia.

The Kile Glover Boat Education Law and Jake and Griffin BUI Law provide for greater public protection for hunting and boating. Two years ago, brothers, Jake and Griffin Prince, died on Lake Lanier when their boat was struck in an accident that involved an alleged boating under the influence.

Kile Glover died from the injuries he obtained after being run over on July 6, 2012 by a personal watercraft on Lake Lanier.

The law requires that anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1998 who operates any motorized vessel on Georgia waters must complete a DNR-approved boating education course.

People who are exempt include those licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as a master of a vessel, persons operating on a private lake or pond and non-residents who completed national boating requirements or equivalent.

The law also lowered blood alcohol content of a boater from .10 to .08, the same as a motor vehicle.

Boater education courses are offered in a classroom, online or home study program. For more, visit or

For information on the mandatory boater education requirement, including a new video, visit

MH 06-18-14

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