Boating Safety

Answers to the Safe Boating Quiz. How many did you get right?

1. SM - Yes, a boater safety course will give a boater more knowledge on the laws and instructions on how to boat safely.

2. SM: If you are a resident of the state of Alabama, you are required to obtain a vessel endorsement to operate a personal watercraft (PWC) or vessel, beginning at the age of 12.  

3. SM: 9-1-1. Advise of location and dispatch will notify the needed agency.

4. SM: ALEA dispatch at 334-676-7200 to advise location and try to obtain vessel number.

5. SM: There is no requirement, but it is a good practice to conduct such a checklist. It is taught in the boaters education class.

6. SM: If you have only adults on board, then yes. If you have children on the boat – No, it is does not. In addition, all PFDs for everyone on board must be U.S. Coast Guard approved.

7. SM:  It is located on the inside of the PFD.

8. SM: No, the type IV throwable also must be Coast Guard approved.

9. SM: Yes. Type I, II or III Coast Guard approved.

10. SM: You do not have to wear it, but it must be on board the paddleboard.

11. SM: Children under 8 years of age.

12. SM: Yes, the PFD must be worn on a PWC, even if you are operating only for a short distance. This includes launching the PWC.

13. SM: No, you can only allow the number for which the PWC is rated. The vessel operator counts as one, so you can only have two on the towable.

14. SM: It is determined by length of the vessel. Vessels less than 16 feet long are not required to have sound-producing devices, but it is strongly recommended that these vessels carry horns or whistles on board.

Vessels that are 16 feet to 40 feet long are required to carry on board whistles or horns or some other means to make an efficient sound signal.

15. SM: Yes, open containers are permitted.

16. SM: You will be checked for your sobriety, and the results could indicate BUI.

17. SM: Operator inattention and careless operation.

18. SM: No, docking lights are just what they state they are. They are for docking. If you use your docking lights to navigate, it drowns out your navigational lights, and you can’t see other boaters approaching.

19. SM: I would only recommend you operate your navigational lights for safety reasons.

20. SM: Yes, but always have a pre-trip plan and let others know your plans. Also, keep a charged cellphone on board for any emergencies that may arise.

21. RK: Diamond – Hazard; Diamond with cross – Restricted/Boaters Keep Out; Circle – Slow No Wake.

22. RK: Authorization process is by the Marine Police. If approved, LMRA will install and manage.

23. RK: No. Those are considered private.

24. RK: Yes, 100 feet. The buoy isn’t typically installed on top of the hazard.

25. RK: Please contact Lake Martin Resource Association at or call 256-212-1422 and provide the buoy number and location, so it can be replaced quickly.

26. RK: No. All costs for buoys, lights, anchors, etc., are covered by LMRA through membership dues/renewals and donations. LMRA volunteers manage the buoy program. 

27. RK: Call Marine Patrol dispatch at 256-234-2601 and/or LMRA at or call 256-212-1422. Pictures would be helpful. 

28. SM: One is for health reasons; the other is boater’s fatigue. The sun literally drains you, and you will not be aware of it until it’s too late.

29. SM: Sure, there are many boaters that boat alone, but again, have a pre-trip plan and let someone know about your plans.

30. SM: Yes, they are taught in a boater’s safety and education class.

31. SM: Always. Weather in the state of Alabama can change in a heartbeat. 

32. SM: You must have someone 12 years of age or older to spot for people being towed, or your vessel has to be equipped with a tow mirror of at least 78 square inches.

33. SM: No spotter is required, but the PWC must have tow mirrors attached to each side of the PWC.

34. SM: It is not a law that requires you to do so; however, in narrow channels and tributaries, you must stay to the right, just like riding on a highway.

35. SM: Yes, there is a capacity plate on the vessel that tells you how many people can occupy the vessel. The limit can be found on the capacity plate.

36. SM: Engine cut-off switches, also know as ECOS or kill switches, are required by Alabama law for vessels that are less than 24 feet in length, have an open cockpit and are powered by more than 50 horsepower. The lanyard of the switch must be attached to the person, clothing or PFD of the vessel operator.

37. SM: Yes. It must be attached to the operator.

For more information about Alabama boating rules and regulations, visit For more information about Lake Martin Resource Association, visit