Boating is a popular recreational activity in the state of Georgia. Many people enjoy spending a day out on Lake Lanier, Lake Oconee, Lake Burton, or any one of Georgia’s other lakes. The state of Georgia has laws and regulations in place that all boat drivers are required to follow. An awareness of these laws and regulations is crucial to keeping you safe and preventing accidents.
Completing a Boater Education Course
Georgia requires anyone who wants to drive a boat to complete a Boater Education Course or an approved equivalency test. This course goes over how to maintain and operate a boat, the legal requirements for boating, and how to prepare in case of an emergency. Upon completing the course, an individual will receive a Boating Safety Education Card. A mandatory training course makes sure that people have the proper knowledge of how to operate a boat safely.
Who Can Operate a Boat?
There are special requirements for those under the age of 12, those between the ages of 12 and 13, and those between the ages of 14 to 15. Anyone 16 years old or over may operate any boat, given that they have completed the education course and have the necessary identification with them.
Operating a Boat While Under the Influence
Boating while under the influence is a crime in the state of Georgia. The legal limit for operating a boat is a blood alcohol content of 0.08- the same as the limit for operating a vehicle. The law goes beyond just managing a boat and also makes it illegal to “manipulate any moving water skis, moving aquaplane, moving surfboard, or similar moving device” while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Driving a boat while under the influence is incredibly dangerous and can lead to serious accidents. Boating under the influence has severe penalties which get increasingly more severe if the offense is committed more than once.
Reckless boating is defined as operating a water vessel or manipulating any water skis, aquaplanes, inner tubes, surfboards, or other devices in such a way that neglects consideration for the safety any people or property nearby and includes:
- Water skiing or dropping water skis when swimmers, other boaters, or launching ramps are nearby.
- Creating damage with the boat’s wake.
- Jumping the wake of another boat that is within 100 feet of your boat.
Reckless boating can have severe, possibly even fatal consequences. If reckless boating causes the death of another party, it can result in a homicide by vessel charge. It is in everyone’s best interest that you drive carefully and remain aware of your surroundings.
Educating yourself on the rules that apply to boaters and making a commitment to abide by those rules will ensure that you have a fun and safe boating experience.
- Wear a life jacket. It is required by law that children ten years and under wear life jackets.
- Avoid alcohol before operating boating.
- Take a training course to learn how to operate a boat properly and what to do in case an accident does happen.
- Avoid speeding.
- Maintain the proper distance between your boat and other vessels. Failure to do so could result in an accident and may lead to a serious injury by vessel charge.
If you or a loved one was a victim in a boating accident caused by negligence, you may have a claim against the liable party. Contact the Nye Law Group for more information about your options. Call us at (912) 200-5230 to learn more.