While the school year has begun and many Georgians are now back in a different routine, a holiday weekend is always expected to bring people to the water to celebrate.
This Labor Day weekend will surely be no exception, so the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division stresses the importance of safety for all boat drivers and passengers.
So far this year there have been 87 boating incidents, 10 boating incident-related fatalities and 32 total drownings on Georgia waters. Wildlife Resources Division Conservation Rangers also have issued a total of 146 boating under the influence citations. Many accidents and fatalities can be avoided by reviewing and following safety tips over the course of the holiday weekend festivities.
• There are no “driving lanes” on the water, so boat operators need to be educated on the “rules of the road” and aware of all other boat traffic in the area.
• Wear your life jacket. Nine out of 10 drowning victims did not.
Children under the age of 10 are required by law to wear a life jacket while onboard a moving boat (unless child is in a fully enclosed cabin).
• Do not drink and operate a boat. Half of all boating fatalities involve alcohol.
• Use navigation lights at all times on the water at night, whether the boat is moving or anchored. Do not wait until dark to turn your lights on to see if they are functioning properly.
• Do not overload your boat with people or equipment.