Water Safety


• The minimum age to operate a vessel or personal watercraft in Georgia without adult supervision is 16 years old. • Persons operating a vessel or personal watercraft must carry an operator's license. • Each person is required to have a Personal Floating Device (PFD). All children under eight (8) years old must wear a PFD. • PFDs must be worn when within 800 feet below a hydroelectric dam and/or navigational lock and dam. • Any person riding a personal watercraft must wear a PFD. • Some vessels must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved, BC type fire extinguisher. Check regulations. • Vessels must be equipped with navigation lights when operated between the hours of sunset and sunrise and during periods of limited visibility. • Boating Safety websites: http://www.vesselsafetycheck.orghttp://www.americasboatingcourse.com and http://www.uscgboating.org.


• Water-skiing is permitted from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset. • All vessels towing skiers must have either a mirror with a 78 sq. inch viewing area or a competent observer at least 12 years old. • In order to tow a skier, a personal water craft must have two mirrors with a viewing area of 10 sq. inches each, not mounted on the steering mechanism.

Rules of the Road

• Overtaking/Passing: A vessel overtaking another vessel may pass on either side, but the vessel being overtaken (passed) has the right-of-way. • Meeting Head On: When meeting another vessel head on, each vessel should keep to the right. • Crossing: Boat on right has the right-of-way. Slow down and permit it to pass. • All motorized vessels, sailboats, and rental boats must be currently registered. • All vessels must stay 100 feet away from a "Divers Down" flag. • When operating in a narrow channel, all vessels will keep to the right of mid-channel. • Obey all restrictive signs and buoys. Operate at an idle speed around gas docks and loading docks. • Operators are responsible for any damage caused by their wake. • All accidents involving death, serious injury, or a disappearance from a PWC or boat must be reported to the proper authorities within 48 hours.


Beginner and even experienced swimmers should observe these basic safety rules:

• Never swim alone in unsupervised areas. Use the "buddy system" - in which you and another swimmer agree to watch one another. • Don't dive or jump into unfamiliar water. Shallow water or submerged trees or rocks could cause injury or even paralysis. • Don't stay in the water too long, especially when the water is cold.

*From Georgia Power Website