SOCIAL CIRCLE — The Labor Day holiday is expected to bring people to the water to celebrate for one more warm weather weekend. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division stresses the importance of safety for all boat drivers and passengers.
“While the Labor Day holiday weekend is not typically as busy as early and mid-summer holidays, there still is a need for increased safety awareness from all boaters,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver. “Conservation rangers will strictly enforce all boating laws in an effort to keep everyone safe, but we also encourage people to pay extra attention to others on the water.”
So far this year there have been 68 boating incidents, eight boating incident-related fatalities and 22 total drownings on Georgia waters. Conservation rangers also have issued a total of 140 boating under the influence citations.
Prevent accidents and fatalities by reviewing the following safety tips:
• Designate an operator. Do not drink and operate a boat. This year, Georgia law changed to move the blood alcohol content level to .08 to match Georgia driving law. • Take a boating safety course. Visit www.goboatgeorgia.com/boating/education for course listings. • Wear a life jacket. Children under 13 years of age are required by law to wear a life jacket while onboard a moving vessel, but it’s recommended for EVERYONE to wear a life jacket.
• Don’t overload your boat with people or equipment. Check on the capacity plate for the maximum weight or the maximum number of people the boat can safely carry.
• Use navigation lights at ALL times when on the water at night. Check lights before it gets dark.
• Watch your speed. The 100-foot law applies to ALL size vessels and prohibits operation at speeds greater than idle speed within 100 feet of any vessel, unless overtaking or meeting another vessel in compliance with the rules of the road.
• New boater education law begins July 2014. Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1998, will be required to complete a boat education course in order to operate any vessel.
For more information, visit www.goboatgeorgia.com/boating/safety. Several new videos have been created on recent and upcoming boating-related changes in Georgia, visit www.goboatgeorgia.com/new-boating-regulations-2013 to view.