The short answer to that question is “YES”. Virginia has started the phasing in of a law requiring all personal watercraft and motorboat operators to be licensed by 2016. This schedule, posted on The Smith Mountain Lake Boating Association website, is listed below:
“The state of Virginia has passed legislation requiring all Virginia boaters to complete boater education classes. These requirements will be phased in over an eight year period and are outlined below.
You need a boater education class by the given dates if:
- You are a personal watercraft operator 20 and younger by July 1, 2009.
- You are a personal watercraft operator 35 and younger by July 1, 2010.
- You are personal watercraft operator 50 and younger or a motorboat operator 20 and younger by July 1, 2011.
- All personal watercraft operators and motorboat operators 30 and younger by July 1, 2012.
- You are a motorboat operator 40 and younger by July 1, 2013.
- You are a motorboat operator 45 and younger by July 1, 2014.
- You are a motorboat operator 50 and younger by July 1, 2015.
- All motorboat operators must have a class by July 1, 2016.”
More information on how to comply with the Boating Safety Education Requirement can be found on the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating/education/boating-safety-education-requirement.asp
A listing of Roanoke, New River Valley, and Smith Mountain Lake boating and personal watercraft safety classes can be found here:http://smlba.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/2013-Boat-Classes.pdf. Some class sizes are limited. Be sure to call and pre-register for your desired date and location.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident in Virginia or West Virginia, call Paul Thomson, of The Thomson Law Firm for a free consultation at 540-777-4900.