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New Boating Laws In Order

MADISON- With the Tennessee Valley home to a bevy of wonderful waterways, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law legislation passed by Alabama lawmakers new boating rules and regulations which redefined penalties for illegal boating as simply “boating violations” in an attempt to streamline boating to become similar to traffic citations.

With the help of Alabama’s Marina Patrol (AMP), legislation was passed and now signed into law effective the first of the New Year which will turn many boating infractions from misdemeanors and felonies to boating violations. Included in the new rules are the change of reckless boating from a misdemeanor to a boating violation and the same for the penalty for having children younger than eight years of age on a boat without a life jacket. The maximum for violations can include $200 in total fines and up to 30 days in jail.

Additional wording in the new law is adapted for boating without a safety certification which becomes a violation. Boating safety certifications are required for residents of Alabama and visitors who remain in the state more than 45 days.

The new law (HB358) states the enforcement of the new marine laws will be statewide and will create a boating violation system like the current traffic enforcement codes. Overall, the financial penalties for marine violations will certainly increase with the jurisdiction of said laws residing in District Court.

Alabama’s Marine Patrol Division consist of three districts with the North District covering 27 counties with major waterways along the Tennessee, Coosa and Black Warrior Rivers along with large bodies of waters such as Lake Guntersville. Over a million boaters can enjoy Alabama’s one million acres of lakes, 1,600 miles of rivers and 53 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. Boating safety has always been a concern and top priority of the AMP.

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