With the Labor Day weekend ahead, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division is stressing the importance of safety for all boat drivers and passengers.
“Holiday weekends often mean increased use of public waterways – and that means an increased need for safety awareness from all boaters,” said Assistant Chief of Law Enforcement Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver.
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:
• Wear a life jacket. Nine out of 10 drowning victims did not. Children under the age of ten 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.
• Know Georgia’s age requirements for boat and PWC operation, and don’t lend your PWC to anyone underage.
• Brush up on your boater education knowledge. Take a boating safety course. Visit goboatgeorgia.com for more information on all three options.
For more information on boating safety, visit www.goboatgeorgia.com or call the Coastal Georgia DNR Law Enforcement office at (912) 264-7237.