• 4 deaths in lake so far this year
• 5 deaths in 2013
• 10 deaths in 2012
• 45 boating under the influence citations issued on average in a year
• 12 boating under the influence citations issued last Memorial Day weekend
With the Memorial Day holiday weekend launching the summer season on Lake Lanier, law enforcement officials are reminding all visitors to follow the laws and common sense to stay safe on the lake.
"Your attention to safety rules and alertness to other people on the water can save lives. It is your role to be as safe as possible so you are in control of your vessel and anything unexpected that happens on the water," said Col. Eddie Henderson, Division director at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Safe boater check list
• Designate an operator: Just like drinking and driving, drinking and boating will get you into trouble, if not tragedy. Don’t drink and boat. State law also changed last year so that boaters can’t have more than a 0.08 blood alcohol content, the same law that applies for drivers.
• Educate yourself: Go to www.goboatgeorgia.com/boating/education to learn about boating courses. Beginning July 1, anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1998, will be required to complete a boater safety course approved by the Department of Natural Resources before operating a boat or personal watercraft.
• Wear your life jacket: Children younger than 13 must wear a life jacket while the boat is moving. Keep in mind that in a boat wreck, you may be knocked unconscious. When unconscious, great swimmer or not, you’ll be in trouble. Authorities that patrol the lake say they’ve never recovered a drowning victim wearing a life jacket.
• Don’t overload your boat: Check the recommended capacity for weight and/or people that can be safely carried.
Use your lights: At night, always use navigation lights. Check that they work before it gets dark.
• Watch your speed: Don’t go more than idle speed when you’re within 100 feet of another vessel of any size, unless you’re overtaking or meeting that vessel.