North Carolina is now one of many states that require boaters to complete a boating education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
Organizations that locally provide boater safety courses are beefing up their 2010 schedules to accommodate the demand created by the new regulation. Here are excerpts of information from www.ncwildlife.org and other sources:
After May 1, 2010, anyone younger than 26 must complete a NASBLA-approved boating education course before operating any vessel propelled by a motor of 10 horsepower or greater.
No one younger than 14 may operate a personal watercraft. A person at least 14 but younger than 16 may operate one if the person is accompanied by someone at least 18 years old who occupies the craft, or the person has ID proof of age and boating safety certification or a card indicating the satisfactory completion of a NASBLA boating safety education course.
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A person 16 or older may operate a personal watercraft without completing a boating safety course, but taking the course is recommended. The owner of a personal watercraft must not knowingly allow anyone younger than 16 to operate it except under the rules above.
Here is a partial list of organizations and Web sites that provide NASBLA-approved courses:
N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, 919-707-0032.
Light House Marine Services, 704-587-0325.
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, 800-336-2628 (336-BOAT).
U.S. Power Squadron Home Page, 888-367-8777 (888-FOR-USPS) or 704-662-3647.
Stripers are hitting live baits in the backs of major creeks early and in deeper water throughout the day. Best bets are the creeks above the N.C. 150 bridge and Mountain and Reeds creeks at the south end of Lake Norman.
This week's forecast: Fishing for stripers, bass, crappie and perch should be good to excellent for holiday anglers. Take a kid fishing!