Local News

New law requires young boat drivers to be certified

Posted May 28, 2010 9:27 p.m. EDT
Updated May 28, 2010 10:51 p.m. EDT

— For 13-year-old Michael Ehrlickman, there's nothing like a weekend boat ride with dad on Jordan Lake.

“It will cool you down some when it’s really hot during the summer,” Michael said. “It’s a great way to pass the time.

On the water, Michael has six years driving experience.

For years, Michael didn't need to take a boating course to drive a vessel in North Carolina, but starting this month the regulations have changed.

Now, anyone under 26 must complete an approved boating safety education course before operating any vessel propelled by a motor of 10 HP or greater. This includes most boats and jet skis.

The course is available online or in person.

“It’s good just to have it for safety. There’s a lot of people that go out on the water and don’t know the rules, don’t know when to go, when to stop,” said 25-year-old Nicole Zinzi, who took the course online.

One of the things Michael said he learned in the class is to watch out for buoys.

“I thought it was excellent. I’ll be honest with you, everybody should take it because adults are as bad as kids,” said Jan Ehrlickman, Michael’s father.

Officers can issue citations to people who do not have a certificate of course completion. While there is no fine, the person will need to appear before a judge and pay court costs.