Georgia Boating Laws and Regulations

Age and Operator Restrictions

Persons under 12 years of age:

  • May not legally operate a PWC or any vessel 16 feet in length or longer.
  • May legally operate a boat less than 16 feet in length and powered by a motor of 30 horsepower or less only if they are accompanied by a competent adult.

Persons 12 to 15 years of age:

  • May not legally operate any vessel 16 feet in length or longer.
  • May legally operate a PWC or vessel less than 16 feet in length if they:
    • Have passed a boating education course approved by the DNR or…
    • Are accompanied by a competent adult.

Persons 16 years of age or older may legally operate any boat or PWC on Georgia state waters if they have a proper identification card, such as a driver's license (or legible copy) or any other government-issued identification that contains a description of the person, a photograph, and the date of birth, on board.

Enforcement

Georgia law enforcement officers patrol the waterways to make your boating experience safe and pleasant. Cooperate with them by following the laws and guidelines.

Carry the Card: Vessel operators who are required to have a Boater Education Card must carry the card on board the vessel and have it available for inspection by an enforcement officer.

Penalty: Not carrying your Boater Education Card when one is required can result in a fine.

Reciprocity

For visiting boaters, all states, territories, and provinces will recognize boating education cards that meet NASBLA requirements and Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Cards that meet Transport Canada’s requirements. (This is known as “reciprocity.”)

Need help? Here are the answers to the questions Georgia Boating students most frequently ask.

Frequently Asked Questions