Information on Nebraska Boating Laws (LB 305)
Boating Safety Class Schedule.
Reminders for Lake Hastings Boaters:
Information contained in this brochure is current as of January 2007. Please note that legislation pending in the 98th Legislature, First Session of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature may change Nebraska law before the 2003 boating season. Please stay informed of any changes that may supercede information listed in this brochure. This brochure is not a complete list of all law and regulations. For complete information, consult the Hastings City Code, Nebraska Revised State Statutes Chapter 37, and Title 163 of the Nebraska Administrative Code.
For information on other Boating Basics classes in the area and state, visit the Boating Class page of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission web site.
A City Ordinance passed by the Hastings City Council February 27, 2002 requires boating education for all boaters at Lake Hastings.
Q. What am I required to have to boat at Lake Hastings?
A. All boaters at Lake Hastings are required to have current state registration, liability insurance, and a Lake Hastings boat permit for their motorboat. Any person who operates a motorboat on Lake Hastings must have proof of successful completion of an approved Nebraska Boaters Safety Course or its equivalent.
Q. Do I need to carry the card?
A. You are required to carry proof of completion any time you are operating a motorboat on Lake Hastings, and show it to any law enforcement officer upon request. The cards issued in Nebraska are designed to be waterproof.
Q. When is the course scheduled?
Q. Ive been boating for years, do I have to sit through the class?
A. No. Experienced boaters 18 and older who wish to "challenge" the exam may do so. You may take the test during the times outlined to the left. If you pass, you will be issued a card. If you do not pass, you will be asked to take the entire course. Study materials are available from Game and Parks. Those required by state law to take the course must take the entire course.
Q. Why was this change made?
A. Boating Education has been proven to reduce accidents and increase safety across the nation. We believe that this ordinance will improve safety and reduce user conflicts at Lake Hastings.
Q. Have the age limits changed?
A. No. City Ordinance still requires boaters to be 16 to operate any boat over 10 horsepower, and 14 to operate any boat under 10 horsepower. Operators who are 14 or 15 may operate a motorboat under direct supervision of an adult at least 21 years of age.
LB 305The Nebraska Legislature passed LB 305, containing numerous changes to Nebraskas Game and Parks laws, including several changes to the State Boat Act.
The changes include:
- Making the Nebraska boating age of 14 part of statute, not just regulation.
- Extending the current boating education requirement to include all boaters under 18, not just personal watercraft operators under 16, which is the current law.
- Prohibiting 14- and 15-year olds from pulling a person (skier, tuber, etc.) behind a boat.
- Prohibiting personal watercraft from jumping the wake of any other vessel within 50 yards.
- Prohibiting personal watercraft from jumping the wake of any vessel with a person in tow (skier, tuber, etc.)
There are also several changes to accident reporting, registration funding, and boat registration procedures.
Most of the boating portions of the bill, originally known as LB 348, were drafted by Senator Phil Erdman of Bayard.Seventeen year old Samantha Rader was tragically killed July 5, 2002 at Bridgeport State Lakes when she was struck by a 14-year old on a personal watercraft. The 14-year old Colorado resident who hit Samantha was operating illegally.
LB 305 also will set a maximum noise level for boats at 94 decibels at 100 feet away when the boat in on plane. This bill was originally LB 74, and will not affect most boats that have not modified their muffling systems.
The changes took effect when Governor Johanns signed the bill. All boaters under 16 must meet the education requirement immediately. Boaters who are 16- and 17-years old must have the education beginning January 1, 2004.
The changes to the age restriction and education requirements will not be noticed by most users of Lake Hastings, where the minimum boating age is already 16 for any boat over 10 horsepower and ordinances already require boating education for all boaters, regardless of age. The local ordinances are more restrictive than state law and have improved safety on Lake Hastings, which has fewer than 70 surface acres available to boating.
The new laws regarding the jumping of wakes by personal watercraft will apply at Lake Hastings and help regulate what can be a dangerous activity by those craft.
Any boater who uses lake Hastings, or a boater under 18 who plans to boat elsewhere in Nebraska will need to complete the Nebraska Boating Safety course, or have completed an approved course in another state.
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