GAINESVILLE - Lake Lanier is Georgia's biggest reservoir, and consequently Georgia's biggest recreation lake. It has also witnessed the tragedy that can occur when people out on the water for a day of fun get careless.
With that in mind, Hall County Commissioners joined Commissioner Billy Powell, Executive Director of the Lake Lanier Association Joanna Cloud, Fire Chief David Kimbrell and Hall Marine Rescue Team members as Powell read the Water Safety Month proclamation.
Powell said 10 people, including two children, drown each day in the U.S. in non-boating related incidents, while 500 people die in boat-related incidents, mostly caused by human error or poor judgment.
"A significant number of those who drown would be alive had they been wearing life jackets," Powell said.
Powell added that water safety education is a community effort, with the Lake Lanier Safety Alliance and the Hall County Fire Department working to raise safety awareness on Lake Lanier.
Chief Kimbrell said the rescue team works with state Department of Natural Resources rangers, Corps of Engineer rangers and the Hall County Sheriff's Department to keep the lake safe and provide assistance to boaters.
Cloud said the initiatives supported by the Association are the removal of junk house boats and other debris from the lake, and a lake property owner water quality pledge agreement.
"We are asking property owners to voluntarily sign it," Cloud said. "It says you agree to have your septic tank inspected every three years and serviced and not to fertilize within the 50-foot buffer of the water. It raises awareness of ways that property owners can help impact water quality."
Cloud said water quantity is also an issue, with the Association monitoring progress on the rewrite of the water control manual, and of course, so is water safety.
"We've got the boating safety stickers - they're adhesive and we're handing them out right and left," Cloud added.