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New age mandate for driving motorboats and personal watercrafts in Colorado

A new state law that took effect Saturday states anyone driving a motorboat or personal watercraft must be 18 years old or have already completed a state approved boater safety course.
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Posted at 12:28 PM, Jun 03, 2024

DENVER — If you're planning to bring your family out to Colorado waters, make sure your kids are old enough to captain the boat.

A new state law that took effect Saturday states anyone driving a motorboat or personal watercraft must be 18 years old or have already completed a state-approved boater safety course.

To take that course, you have to be between the ages of 14 and 17.

It's a change Patricia Seguel, a mom of two young kids feels happy about.

"I think it's made me feel so much better because you never know the mind of the kids," she said. "So I feel better if the older kids can drive now and no younger kids in the lake because you never know when maybe can hit you and they don't have responsibilities too."

Just one day after the law took effect, Denver7 shared the news with boat owners like Marcqus Johnson. He hadn't heard of the change yet and said he'd need to let his 16-year-old son know.

"So he’ll have to adjust. Yeah, he'll have to just sit in the raft and get towed this time. He can't run the helm like he usually wants to," Johnson said.

New age mandate for driving motorboats and personal watercrafts in Colorado

If he wants to legally captain the boat, he'll have to take a course. Johnson said he won't have his son take it this boating season.

"He actually likes hanging out sometimes more than operating the vessel. So even with the laws that are changed in the classes that are available for 14 to 17-year-olds, I personally won't let my son go through," he said.

Even so, Johnson is happy with the age increase, especially after the state saw a record-breaking year of water recreation-related deaths in 2022.

"It just gives them a little bit more time to maybe gain some more knowledge and a little bit more experience and you know, before they start going out there on their own and especially on busy days," he said.




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