Boating safety course offered at West Point Lake

(WTVM) - As the summer season kicks into full swing, local beaches and lakes will start to become packed with visitors.

"It would not surprise me to see thousands of people here this weekend," explains Park Ranger Steven Rector.

The US Coast Guard Auxiliary in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at West Point Lake, conduct a personal watercraft and boating safety course during boating season each year.

"We offer this class so people know what the rules and regulations are, how to get from A to B without impacting the enjoyment of other people or their own enjoyment, "says Coast Guard Auxiliary Member, Richard Curry.

This course will provide information on legal requirements, navigation rules, preventing personal watercraft and boating accidents, and new boating laws.

"There is a new law taking effect soon that says anyone born after January 1, 1998 will be required to compete an approved boater safety course before they can operate a boat on Georgia waters," says Rector.

For Alabama residents, this certificate will exempt them from taking the written exam when obtaining an Alabama boating license.

"They will obtain approval for Georgia and Alabama. Not sure what the rules are for Florida, but they can boat on this lake comfortably after they complete this class," explains Curry.

No matter how much experience you have, it's always a good idea to review common boater safety tips including: having the proper number of life jackets, watching the weather, developing a float plan, and most importantly, taking a boater safety course.

"There will be a lot of different agencies out there patrolling the water, making sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable weekend," explains Rector.

The two part class is offered throughout the boating season on Tuesday and Thursday nights and is $15 to participate.

You may sign up by contacting the West Point Project Management Office at 706-645-2937.

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