Local News

Governor considers safe boating legislation

Posted July 3, 2009

— Boating, especially on a summer weekend, is a popular pastime in the Tar Heel state. There are more than 300,000 water-going vessels registered with the state.

Law would require boaters to have training Law would require boaters to have training

“Getting some kids out there in the water doing some tubing – it's just a great time with the family,” Matthew Petee said.

Young operators of those vessels may need to spend some time in the classroom if the governor signs a boating safety bill into law.

Senate Bill 43 would require that anyone born after 1984 complete a certified safe boating course before taking the controls of any vessel with more than 10 horsepower.

The proposal is an effort to cut down on the dangers to boaters, water skiiers and others who enjoy a day at the lake. In 2008, 150 boaters crashed in North Carolina. Eighteen were killed.

“Being able to control your watercraft is an important thing whether it's a boat or a jet ski, whatever it may be," Rob Carman said.

Petee agreed. "There are specific rules on the water," he said. "What do the buoys mean? What do the flags mean? ... There's a lot of responsibility out here. The more you know, the better off everybody is."

If the governor signs the bill into law, it would take effect May 2010.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • beachboater Jul 6, 2009

    Right now the only requirement for getting on the water is a check book or good credit.

    I do not like or approve of the current state or federal elected officials, but like someone mentioned above, I am not opposed to this.

    I've been boating for 50 years and have always been safe boater. A few years back, Topsail Beach put an age restriction on jet skis. My daughter was about 14 and an experienced and safe operator. She had to take a Wildlife course to be able to ride at Topsail. She took it, and I took it with her.

    The kids in that class really studied hard. It was a little humorous to me the way they made calls back and forth during the day while studying for the "exam" that night.

    I made 100, my daughter made a 96. It was good for both of us.

    I'm for anything that will improve the safety on the water.

    Someone complained about singling out jet skis as being bad. Jet skis are NOT bad, but MANY people riding them are idiots.

  • irishale Jul 3, 2009

    Sounds like a good idea on the surface... but why wait until May 2010? How about Jan 1?

    Got some ideas myself: age/horse power restrictions... or, higher requirements for higher-powered vessels. Throw PWC's into this mix as well... those things are bullets, and deadly in the hands of the imbeciles I see on them (and yes, I've ridden one before).

    Another: There's supposedly no alcohol allowed at Jordan Lake. Why don't you start checking coolers at the launch ramp? I'm 37, and NEVER required alcohol to have a good day on the water. If you want to drink so badly, stay at home or go to a bar. Or to a therapist/counselor to find out why you can't have a good time without drinking.

    Once upon a time, a day on the water was a relaxing experience. Now any idiot can buy more boat than they have enough sense to operate... and we all suffer for it.

  • GravyPig Jul 3, 2009

    A) As I've already said, I'm not whining. Don't try to read my "tone" of typing.

    Just wise cracking at first, but I seem to have stuck a nerve.

    B) I think the government should enforce the laws already on the books instead of trying to control everyone more and more.

    No argument there, but it's not gonna stop any time soon.

    C) Yeah, I would HATE for the waters to be safer for the public. (That was sarcasm.)

    LOL, I see what you did there.

    D) Interesting how you've labeled me a whiner, a complainer, and as being sensitive from one tiny post. Are you always this way towards someone who disagrees with what your opinions are?

    Could also say the same, you inferred a lot from my tiny post. Wasn't disagreeing with any opinion. If I was disagreeing, I would be speaking contrary to what you had said. It was just a comment, didn't mean to get you riled up.

    Have a safe and happy 4TH.

  • Mustang Jul 3, 2009

    Safe and courteous boaters don't need a license. What we need to see is an enforcement of the laws and rules that are already in place. It seems the Wildlife Officers are more concerned about me having enough life jackets than those who cut across my bow from starboard, or blow through a no-wake zone at a quarter throttle. Everyone who boats need to know the rules of the water and should take it upon themselves to learn them. My 19 year old with over 17 yrs of boat operation is a much safer boater than many in their 40's.

  • lkanzig Jul 3, 2009


    what does boater safety have to do with passing a budget and getting people back to work?

    a new tax revenue for bev's buddies.

    north carolina residents, i am sure you are just as tired as i am about the incompetence and wastefull practices that have been going on in raleigh. it is time to recall these people that are clueless and out of touch with the general public. because of their poor leadership, north carolina has a black eye and has become the butt of many jokes across this country.the two party political system is destroying this state. dont vote for someone because they are republican or democrat, vote for them because they have the ability to get us out of this mess and make things right. i could care less if it is conservative or liberal, people we need to join together to deal with these issues and serious lack of competence and leadership.


  • 1carpe Jul 3, 2009

    Sorry failed to mention in my post...no the law will not apply to me, yes I have been through USCG Power Squadron Course, first time in 71, and about every 10 years since as a refresher.

  • 1carpe Jul 3, 2009

    Those that recognize my posting name will be schocked. I don't disagree with the Governor on this one (scary). Gang I have been operating boats since 1965. I watched, especially in the last 10 years more and more people on the lake who know nothing about boating safety, much less courtesy. Safe operation of a boat takes at least as much attention as safe operation of a motor vehicle. At least some of you raise a huge fuss every time there is an article about somebody driving w/o a license causing an accident. You will not find me on the water during the day on weekends until after mid October because I do enjoy living...and accident rates and DUI rates are up on all of our lakes in this state. I guess this is a red letter day since this conservative actually agrees with Bev (scary, isn't it)?

  • mdaphoto Jul 3, 2009

    hi, born 1962 and had to pass my fathers test before i could take the row boat out. his test would make bevs look like a walk at the park i'm sure.

    if todays younsters had the lesons in behavior given from caring adults this probaly would not be necisary, but unfortunatly a day on any major lake will make ya think twice

  • bkahuna Jul 3, 2009

    This has very little to do with "safety" and a lot to do with finding new ways to tax people. Young people with disposable income, buying PWCs, will now be forced to pay a fee to take a kindergarten level boaters safety course. Tax, tax, tax Bev.

  • mjeffrey Jul 3, 2009

    I do agree with gravypig, I think that the state should leave the operation requirements on privately owned lakes/ponds to the owner. if the owner wants operators there to have passed the course or wants to themselves, more power to them, but the state should not impose on privately owned waters. however, on public waters, the state is well within their rights to say who can and cannot operate a vessel. Just as they can on the roads, the regulation of who can operated a vessel on the water is a public safety measure. If you can't afford to take a short course to operate a boat, then you probably cant really afford a boat to begin with. Perhaps the state can make some exemptions for very small boats (ie skiffs and the like) just as they make license exemptions for mopeds on the roads.