New boating law will affect 26 year old and younger boaters

3 May 2010 | Lance Cpl. Victor A. Barrera

Anyone younger than 26 years old operating a boat or personal watercraft with more than 10 horsepower on a public waterway must have successfully completed an approved boating safety education course no later than May 1.

The North Carolina General assembly recently added this new section to Article 1 of Chapter 75A, due to an increasing amount of accidents involving boating vehicles and personal water crafts. Section 16.2 is part of ongoing efforts to promote boating safety and boater responsibility.

To sign up for boating safety classes service members and civilians can visit the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission website at Classes are located in the Jacksonville area and last for two days with each day being roughly three hours long. At the end of the class boaters receive a card stating they have completed the course and are legally able to drive water vehicles.

If a law enforcement officer pulls up to someone’s boat or personal water vehicle and asks for proof-of-course achievement, both the card and a photo identification card are required.

“We won’t issue citations right away, usually when new laws go into effect we do warnings,” said Paul Boniface, chief game warden for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “After a certain period of time people can be cited.”

The new law was implemented so people would learn about boating safety and how to promote it.

“By educating the young people it will help save lives,” said Boniface. “It will prevent accidents and ensure people know what they’re doing before they get behind the (steering) wheel.”

For more information contact 919-707-0030 or visit the website