Saturday, April 3, 2010

New Boater Law - Safety Course Required

On May 1, a new boater law goes into effect on Lake Wylie. North Carolina boaters under the age of 25 will be required to take a boat safety course prior to operating a boat on lakes in the state. Lake Wylie is a bit unique, as it is situated in both NC and SC.

South Carolina boaters will not be required to take the courses (yet) unless the boater does not have a valid drivers license. Currently, teens age 13 and up can take the safety course and then operate a boat regardless of drivers license status.

When I was at the boat show this February, I had a conversation with a member of the Charlotte Power Squadron about the new boating law. He felt that SC would soon follow suit with the safety class requirement.

Lake Wylie is patrolled by York, Meckenburg, and Gaston County police. Each force has jurisdiction over the whole lake, whether the section falls in North or South Carolina. So a boater can be stopped by any one of the patrollers, regardless of where they are in the lake.

There are a few exceptions to the requirement: New boat owners have 90 days from the change in ownership to comply. In an emergency situation, when the original boat captain is unable to operate the boat, another may step in.

There has been very little publicity about the change in boating law, so many may be caught unaware. Anyone under the age of 25 caught without proof of a safe boating course may be ticketed, facing a lost day on the lake and court costs. So spread the word!

For more information on Lake Wylie waterfront issues, visit my site Thanks!

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