WINSTON COUNTY - Local fire departments will serve as a host site for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's Marine Patrol to hold a boating basics/license course this spring.
There will be three different opportunities for persons to take the course in Winston County. The first will take place Saturday, Feb. 18, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Helicon Fire Department, located at 6019 Helicon Road. The course will also be taught Saturday, March 11, and Saturday, April 1, both times at the Arley Fire Department on Helicon Road. The times for the March and April courses will also be 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Although the eight-hour sessions are free and open to the public, individuals interested in attending must contact ALEA's Marine Patrol to reserve a space. Prospective boaters wanting to take the course in February need to send an email to Trooper Kasey Pruitt at Kasey.Pruitt@alea.gov. Prospective boaters wanting to take the course in March or April need to send an email to Kyle Stephenson at Joseph.Stephenson@alea.gov.
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's 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 challengers boaters may face. Anyone age 12 and older is welcome to sign up for the class, as 12-year-olds are eligible to obtain a vessel operator's license for operating a vessel when accompanied by a licensed adult. At age 14, Alabamians are allowed to operate a vessel alone.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.