Recreational boating industry stakeholders including NMMA, WSIA, Yamaha, and others joined Georgia Governor Brian Kemp for an official signing ceremony of towed watersports legislation that included strengthening safety and access opportunities for wakesurfing and wakeboarding. The new law took effect upon the Governor’s signature and followed bordering states, South Carolina, and Tennessee, in proactively keeping boaters and towed water sports enthusiasts safe on the water.
“We appreciate the leadership of Governor Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly in passing this legislation,” said Ben Murray, Manager of Southeast Policy & Engagement for NMMA. “This commonsense legislation enhances safety and maintains the ability for every user group to share the states’ waterways while alleviating environmental impact concerns.”
Introduced by Representative Victor Anderson and sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore John Kennedy, the bill enhances safety requirements for those wakesurfing and wakeboarding by:
- Requiring operators to stay at least 200 feet away from any moored vessel; any wharf, dock, pier, piling, or bridge structure or abutment; or any shoreline adjacent to a full-time or part-time residence, public park, public beach, public swimming area, marina, restaurant, or other public use areas.
- Riders engaging in towed watersports must wear a personal flotation device.
- Prohibits wakesurfing and wakeboarding between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
The bill also exempts intracoastal waterways, rivers, or private lakes as well as any regatta, boat race, marine parade, tournament, or exhibition for which the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has granted a marine event permit.