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ALEA sets boating safety courses for Feb.-Apr.

Springtime in Alabama is just around the corner, so now is the time to prepare for boating season.

Troopers within the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Marine Patrol Division are set to launch Boating Basics/License Courses beginning February 11, across the northern portion of the state. Although the eighthour sessions are free and open to the public, individuals interested in attending must contact ALEA’s Marine Patrol to reserve a space.

Marine Patrol Division Chief Steve Thompson said, “We want to ensure all vessel operators and passengers are safe while enjoying Alabama’s lakes, rivers and other bodies of water. Prospective boaters who complete the course will have an opportunity to obtain a Boating Basics certificate, which is required for the boater endorsement on Alabama’s driver license.”

Corporal Robert Ping from ALEA’s Marine Patrol Division Northern District agreed and said, “There is no better boater safety program taught than the classes taught by Marine Patrol Troopers. Our classes allow for interaction with the instructor, and they are structured with an emphasis on the issues of your local bodies of water. With summer boating season right around the corner, now is the time to get licensed so that you may safely enjoy the beautiful waters of Alabama.”

The one-day course sessions are designed to include interaction with Troopers in ALEA’s Marine Patrol Division, who spend time on the local waterways and discuss the particular challenges boaters may face. Anyone age 12 and older is welcome to sign up for the class as 12- yearolds are eligible to obtain a vessel operator’s license for operating a vessel when accompanied by a licensed adult. At age 14, they are allowed to operate a vessel alone.

Upcoming classes will be held in the northern portion of the state. Prospective boaters are encouraged to consult alea.gov for dates and locations, and then email the Marine Patrol Troopers for the session they would like to attend and to confirm times and dates.