Georgia is serious about boater safety. That much is obvious from the new safe boating education course and license that will go into effect next month.
Starting July 1, everyone born after Jan. 1, 1998 will be required to take and pass a boater education course to legally operate any motorized craft in Georgia waters.
This includes those who take one- or two-person personal watercraft on lakes, rivers, streams and oceans.
There are no exceptions. Anyone who is stopped and unable to show proof of having taken and passed the course will face being fined.
It's part of the new Kile Glover Boater Education Law, named after the 11-year-old, Kile Glover, who was killed in an accident involving a personal watercraft in Georgia. The objective of the new law is not to punish boaters. The goal is to prevent accidents and deaths while doing something that is supposed to be recreational and fun during the hot summer days.
There are far too many careless and reckless people on the water today to go out on any river or lake, whether in Georgia or another state, without first arming oneself with knowledge. This boating safety course will help with that. It will explain proper maneuvers and address risks.
Wise parents would want something like this for their sons and daughters anyway, without being told by the state or the Georgia Department of Natural Resources that it is necessary. In fact, wise adults will want to ingest any information that might keep tragedy away from them and everyone else aboard alive. Too many injuries and deaths occur on the water that could have easily — easily — been avoided.
The course can be found and taken online, at an individual's convenience, day or night.
The only requirement is that an individual answer enough questions at the end of the course to be awarded a passing grade.