How to Stay Safe on Alabama’s Lakes

Alabama is home to more navigable waterways than any state in the Union. Thousands of acres of water make up Alabama’s lakes, and for boaters new to lake life there are a few things to remember. We’ll hit the highlights, but make sure to check the link below to keep up to date on lake requirements.

First and foremost the rules of drinking and driving are not very different for boaters. You can be arrested for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) just as you can for a DUI, and some lakes prohibit alcohol altogether. For example, Weiss Lake is a dry lake even though its surrounding cities all sell alcohol. You can enjoy an alcoholic beverage on your dock legally, but as soon as you step on the boat on Weiss Lake, you’re now in a dry county!

All boaters must have a valid boating license before they may operate a vessel on Alabama’s waters. The age requirement is 14 and requires completion of a boater safety course offered here online.

All boats on Alabama lakes must also have approved safety equipment such as navigation lights, approved personal flotation devices, and in some cases, fire extinguishers. The current required items list can be found here at the bottom of the page.

Alabama lakes and rivers are truly breathtaking, but take the time to learn what you need to stay safe and legal. A weekend can get expensive with tickets or downright deadly if the rules of the water are not followed correctly. Enjoy the lakes!

by: Clark Stewart, Alabama Lake Guru

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