May 18

Heading to the lake? You’ll want to know the law

Travel of children on water in the boatAnother blazing-hot Georgia summer is right around the corner. That means cookouts, road trips, and hanging out on the lake. Don’t get caught unprepared on your boat — know these boating laws, and you won’t have to worry on the water.

To operate a boat you must be 16 years old and have a driver’s license or government issued ID with a photo and date of birth. Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1998, must also complete a boating education course prior to operating any boat.

When it comes to alcohol and drugs, there is zero tolerance. Not only will the operator of the boat be charged with Boating Under the Influence (BUI), the owner of the boat is responsible as well. A person charged with BUI must complete a Drug or Alcohol Use Reduction Program approved by the Department of Driver’s Services. You can also expect a misdemeanor charge with fines up to $1,000 or 12 months in jail. Remember, too, that by operating a boat you have consented to be tested for drugs and alcohol. Never operate any vehicle while under the influence.

What else do you need to know? Here are three things that are sure to grab the attention of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

1. Jumping the wake of another boat within 100 feet of the boat.
2. Causing damage with your wake.
3. Speeding in a no wake zone.

Before you hit the water, know the law. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be ready for a great time with friends and family on the lake.

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