Dear Alabama Boater:

The Roberson/Archer Act passed by the Alabama Legislature in 1994 requires boater certification for all operators of motorized vessels. The Act was named in memory of three Alabama children—Lauren Archer, age 4, and Katey and Ashleigh Roberson, ages 5 and 9, who were tragically killed in boating accidents in 1993. Their deaths and a crusade by their families led to the passage of the Act, which has been widely acclaimed as a national model for boating safety law.

This manual is designed to assist you in achieving two primary objectives:

  1. To help you qualify for Alabama boat operator’s certification
  2. To help you become a better informed and safer operator

The information contained in this manual is not intended to be an official legal reference for all boating laws and regulations. It is intended to explain in common language those laws, regulations, and boating practices you will need most often. In addition, the procedure for obtaining your boat operator’s certification is discussed.

Marine Patrol troopers patrol our waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them while operating your boat by following the suggestions outlined in this manual as well as the rules of common courtesy.

Major Walter S. Thompson, Chief
Marine Patrol Division
Alabama Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources