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New boating safety rule for teens | News

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New boating safety rule for teens

School is out and that means more people are hitting the water, many of them behind the wheel of a boat.

"A lot of these boats are big and fast and there's a lot of local traffic on the water," said Lance Bearden, who often goes boating with his family at Lake Tobesofkee if Macon.

And If you're sixteen or under, there's one more step you'll soon need to make before hopping on board, passing a Georgia boater safety course.

"They don't have brakes, so you really need to make those decisions quick and I'm sure the testing will help people will prepare for that," Bearden says.

Teens can take the course in person or online, and there are a few exceptions to the rule.

A person is exempt if he or she is licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as a master of a vessel, operates on a private lake or pond, or is a non-resident who has proof that he or she has completed approved boating education course in another state.

"It teaches you everything you need to know. Everything you need to know about boating and of course experience is a big part of it, but you need to know what those basic boating laws are before you get on the water," said Doug Furney, manager of Tobesofkee

Most boaters on the lake agreed there needs to be some form of safety regulations for teens, but don't understand why it's not required to be on the water instead of online.

"It's not a huge, huge lake so you run into some problems where they're going down the lake one direction, they're coming down the lake the other direction. You know people need to know what side of the lake to be on," Bearden said.

But Doug Furney, manager of Tobosofkee Recreation says online tests are more practical.

"Online is the best way to get to the most people," he said. "At some point they'll be offering some classes in person, but the best way to get more people is online."

Take the course online here:



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