Navigating the Rules: Boat Registration and Safety
In the waters of Georgia, it's important to stay within the boundaries of the law when it comes to boat registration and safety. Here are some key guidelines:
Registration Requirements: All boats equipped with mechanical propulsion, whether it's an electric trolling motor or a gas motor, and sailboats that are 12 feet or longer must be registered.
Easy Renewal: Registration or renewal can be conveniently done online at GoBoatGeorgia.com.
Mail-In Option: If you prefer traditional methods, you can obtain a Boat Registration Application by mail from GoBoatGeorgia.com.
Phone Registration: Another option is to register or renew your boat by phone at 800-366-2661.
Out-of-State Boaters: Georgia respects boat registrations from other states, as long as the boat is not used continuously in Georgia for more than 60 consecutive days.
Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
Safety First: It's a must to have a wearable personal flotation device (PFD) for each person on board your vessel. These PFDs should be easily accessible, in good condition, marked with the US Coast Guard approved number, and suitable in size for the occupants.
Throwable Device: On all vessels, except Class A boats (those less than 15 feet 11 inches, including personal-watercraft, canoes, and kayaks), you should have at least one Type IV throwable device.
Kids' Safety: Children under 13 must wear a PFD when the vessel is in motion, unless they are in a fully enclosed cabin.
Hazardous Areas: PFDs should be worn by everyone on board in areas marked as "hazardous."
Outboard Motor Restrictions
Know Your Limits: Keep in mind that there are restrictions on outboard motor sizes in certain areas:
- Motors exceeding 9.9 hp are not allowed on the Ogeechee River upstream of State Hwy 119.
- For Lake Juliette and Lake Tugalo, motors exceeding 25 hp are prohibited.
State Park Lakes: When boating on Georgia State Park lakes, it's wise to check with the Park Office at each park for specific boat and motor restrictions.
Mind Your Speed: Maintain idle speed within 100 feet of moored or anchored vessels, drifting vessels, docks, piers, individuals in the water, or shorelines adjacent to residences, public parks, beaches, swimming areas, marinas, restaurants, or other public use areas.
Safety Zones: Be aware that Tybee, Sea, St. Simons, and Jekyll Islands have temporal 1,000 ft. safety zones from May 1 to September 30.
Zero Tolerance for Impairment: Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly unlawful.
Boating Education: To learn more about boating education, explore resources available at GoBoatGeorgia.com.
Remember to stay safe and responsible while enjoying Georgia's waters. And always abide by the regulations to ensure a smooth and enjoyable boating experience.
Be Informed: Unlawful Activities
While enjoying Georgia's waters, make sure to steer clear of these unlawful activities:
- Possessing or using live blueback herring for bait in most fresh waters, except in specific designated areas.
- Using live blueback herring for fishing in Alabama waters.
- Attempting to catch game fish (except American shad, hickory shad, channel catfish, blue catfish, or flathead catfish) using methods other than pole and line.
- Using unauthorized methods or devices to catch fish in public freshwater areas, including illegal snagging.
- Employing electronic devices, explosives, poisons, or firearms to capture fish, which is strictly forbidden.
- Introducing or releasing fish or bait into public waters, except in the same water body where they were collected.
- Discarding fish caught in public waters, which is considered wasteful and against the rules.
- Taking protected species, as outlined in the Definitions section of the regulations, is also prohibited.
Enjoy your time on the water while respecting these guidelines to preserve Georgia's aquatic ecosystems.