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Sunday May 24th, 2015 9:22AM

Lake Lanier Legislative Caucus meets in Cumming

By Bill Johnson
CUMMING - Members of the Lake Lanier Legislative Caucus met in a 90-minute session at Cumming City Hall Monday to listen to recommendations about how to make Lake Lanier safer in 2013.

Several tragic accidents occurred on the lake last year, including the death of two young brothers Griffin and Jake Prince and a young boy believed to be the stepson of the entertainer Usher.

Capt. Thomas Barnard, Gainesville Region Supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources, outlined some grim statistics for causus members.

Lake Lanier has been the site of 307 boating incidents since 2006.Hall County encompasses about 60 percent of the lake and had 192 accidents. Forsyth County recorded 68 incidents.

There were 92 boating fatalities in the state since 2006 and 25 of those occurred in Lake Lanier.

Col. Eddie Henderson, Chief Law Enforcement for the DNR said the No. 1 issue is lowering of the blood alcohol content from the current .10 to .08. Georgia is one of only five states in the nation where the standard is .10.

Other recommendations included improving the standards for navigation lights on watercraft, having boaters attend a safety course similar to the one hunters attend and raising the age for boaters who are required to wear life vests.

Sen.Butch Miller surprised some caucus members by pointing out that boat owners are not required to have liability insurance.

Val Perry, executive vice president of the Lake Lanier Association said, "We should make that part of the equation."

Caucus Chairman Sen. Renee Untermann set Dec. 15 as the date for one of two public hearings, but she could not confirm a time or place.
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