• The minimum age to operate a vessel or personal watercraft in Georgia without adult supervision is 16 years old.
• Persons operating a vessel or personal watercraft must carry an operator’s license.
• Each person is required to have a Personal Floating Device (PFD). All children under eight (8) years old must wear a PFD.
• PFDs must be worn when within 800 feet below a hydroelectric dam and/or navigational lock and dam.
• Any person riding a personal watercraft must wear a PFD.
• Some vessels must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved, BC type fire extinguisher. Check regulations.
• Vessels must be equipped with navigation lights when operated between the hours of sunset and sunrise and during periods of limited visibility.
• Boating Safety websites: http://www.vesselsafetycheck.org, http://www.americasboatingcourse.com and http://www.uscgboating.org.
• Water-skiing is permitted from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset.
• All vessels towing skiers must have either a mirror with a 78 sq. inch viewing area or a competent observer at least 12 years old.
• In order to tow a skier, a personal water craft must have two mirrors with a viewing area of 10 sq. inches each, not mounted on the steering mechanism.
Rules of the Road
• Overtaking/Passing: A vessel overtaking another vessel may pass on either side, but the vessel being overtaken (passed) has the right-of-way.
• Meeting Head On: When meeting another vessel head on, each vessel should keep to the right.
• Crossing: Boat on right has the right-of-way. Slow down and permit it to pass.
• All motorized vessels, sailboats, and rental boats must be currently registered.
• All vessels must stay 100 feet away from a “Divers Down” flag.
• When operating in a narrow channel, all vessels will keep to the right of mid-channel.
• Obey all restrictive signs and buoys. Operate at an idle speed around gas docks and loading docks.
• Operators are responsible for any damage caused by their wake.
• All accidents involving death, serious injury, or a disappearance from a PWC or boat must be reported to the proper authorities within 48 hours.
Beginner and even experienced swimmers should observe these basic safety rules:
• Never swim alone in unsupervised areas. Use the “buddy system” – in which you and another swimmer agree to watch one another.
• Don’t dive or jump into unfamiliar water. Shallow water or submerged trees or rocks could cause injury or even paralysis.
• Don’t stay in the water too long, especially when the water is cold.