The Boating Season is Here!

By Dr. Andrew A. Cox

Both water and air temperatures are ramping up which ushers in the boating season on area waterways. Hence, our waterways are becoming crowded with pleasure boaters and anglers. Boating safety is important to minimize potential boating and other water related accidents and mishaps.

Boating safety and operation tips and procedures are readily available. One useful reference for Georgia boat operators is the Handbook of Georgia Boating Laws and Responsibilities. This publication is available through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (www.gadnrle.org). A similar publication is available for Alabama boat operators through www.outdooralabama.com. These handbooks will answer questions about boat operation and navigation.

As a boat operator on the increasingly crowded waterways in Georgia and Alabama, you may want to consider taking a boating safety or boat operator course; both instructor-led live course or online course instructional formats are available to accommodate your schedule and learning needs. Some are free or charge a nominal fee. A few potential boating safety or so-called boating education providers are listed below:

  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources. www.gadnrle.org; www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com; www.georgiawildlife.com – These websites describe online and live boating education programs available within the State of Georgia
  • United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. www.uscgaux.info – Lists various boating education programs available through this branch of the U.S. Coast Guard
  • United States Power Squadron. www.usps.org – Another source of boating education programs
  • Several non-governmental providers of boating safety and education programs are available to include www.boatus.org and www.boat-ed.com – These sources include on-line boating safety courses.

Useful information is provided for non-powerboat operators on Alabama and Georgia waters. Information useful for angling, kayaking, canoeing and other non-motorized watercraft sports is available. You should also be aware of the licensing and boating operation regulations in effect for both Georgia and Alabama. These regulations can be reviewed through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Being knowledgeable in boat operation, being observant, and anticipating possible boating safety hazards can keep you and your boating passengers safe, allowing enjoyable times on area waterways. Hope you have a safe and pleasurable boating season!

Dr. Andrew Cox is a contributing writer to outdoor publications and newspapers. His writing interests specialize in angling and travel, human interest, and general fishing technique oriented topics. He is a member of the Georgia Outdoor Writer’s Association. He has been fishing the waters of Georgia, Alabama, and north Florida for over forty years. Dr. Cox financially supports his fishing habits as Professor Emeritus at Troy University, Phenix City, Alabama. He may be contacted at andrewtrout@aol.com.

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