Lawmakers Pass Amended Boat-Safety Measure

An amended boating-safety bill passed by the General Assembly has implications for boaters on Smith Mountain Lake. The version of the bill passed on Saturday will permit some experienced boat owners to skip the course and test, but only if he or she has held a Virginia registration certificate for a motorboat for at least six years in a row. The boating-safety legislation passed after a Moneta couple was killed at Smith Mountain Lake in a two-boat crash in 2005. A man was also killed that summer in a Jet Ski accident. The first phase of the regulations took effect in 2009 and required those age 20 or younger to take a safety course to operate personal watercraft. Each summer a new age group has been introduced. Had this amended bill not passed, motorboat owners between 41 and 45 years of age faced a July 1 deadline to pass the course.

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