By Tamas Mondovics
The 2018 summer recreational boating season is well underway as local residents and out-of-state visitors take advantage of their favorite vacation spots and the state’s breathtaking waterways.
To increase safety while boating on Tennessee waters, TWRA has announced the installment of two new laws concerning recreational boating, which went into effect on Sunday July 1.
According to TWRA officials, the first of the two new laws now in effect is a requirement similar to the “Move Over” law on land.
As written, the new law will require boaters to slow to no wake speed within 100 feet of a law enforcement vessel that is displaying flashing blue lights, TWRA said.
The agency also reported that effective this month, exemption from boating education for renters of watercraft is no longer be available.
The law now states that “Tennessee residents born after Jan. 1, 1989 are required to pass a boater education exam administered by an approved representative of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in order to operate any motorized vessel over 8.5 horsepower. Out of state residents born after Jan. 1, 1989 must show proof of successful completion of a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved boating safety course. Non-resident certification may be from their home state or any state issued course.”
Officials explained that those who have already made reservations or entered into contracts with marinas are encouraged to continue with their plans, but are asked to complete an approved boater education course before renting again.
In a recent online interview TWRA officer Rusty Thomson emphasized several basic laws for all to keep in mind.
“Just like hunters were required to take a class since 1969, if you were born after January 1, 1989 boaters have to take a boating education class,” Thomson said.
Thomson added that in his opinion the boating education test is a “fairly hard test” to take loaded with boating terminology, which would be good for new or experienced boaters to be familiar with prior to taking the class.
Tennessee residents born after the Jan.1, 1989 can purchase a Type 600 Exam Permit online or from any hunting and fishing license vendor for a cost of $10 and go to a testing location to take the exam or take a class. Locations for testing and for classes can be found on the TWRA website under the boating section.
If your boating safety card is lost or stolen, you may purchase a Type 605 license from a license agent for $5.00. The duplicate card will be mailed approximately two weeks from purchase date.
For study materials telephone (615) 781-6682.