clear
Thursday February 11th, 2016 12:13PM

DNR pushes "sober boaters," other safety measures

By Staff
GAINESVILLE - Memorial Day weekend marks the official start of the summer boating season, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is emphasizing the importance of safety for all those who plan on boating in the coming weeks.

Captain Thomas Barnard with the DNR said the agency is expecting a large amount of boating traffic this holiday weekend, especially on Lakes Lanier and Hartwell. Barnard explained the DNR will be increasing their manpower accordingly.

"This weekend, every officer with DNR will be working; no one is off," he said. "For Lake Lanier, we will be having 6 patrol boats on the water, and Lake Hartwell, we'll be using 4 patrol boats."

DNR crews will be patrolling Georgia waters to enforce all laws related to boating, but Barnard said preventing boaters from operating their vessel while intoxicated will be a point of emphasis for officers.

"We will be out in force looking for those operators that are impaired across the state, especially on Lanier and Hartwell, in order to keep those bodies of water safe," he added.

Intoxicated boaters are a continual problem that faces the agency, and DNR officials have in recent years taken to educating boaters as well as prosecuting those who break the law.

"As we stop vessels, officers will also be, from an educational standpoint, handing out our boater handbook," Barnard said. "And this particular handbook describes in detail all the state law that covers the boating environment as well as safety tips."

Barnard said that, with many boaters imbibing alcohol as they celebrate on the lake, there is a simple way to avoid trouble, and it is a method that the DNR wholly endorses: "We've been, over the last two years, pushing from a media standpoint, as well as an educational standpoint, to designate a driver for the day."

These so-called "sober boaters" not only satisfy the legal requirements for boating, Barnard said, but also provide a reliable, responsible party should any other individuals choose to drink on-board.

"Just designate that driver for the day," he continued. "There is no open container law on the boat, so folks on-board can drink as long as that driver is sober."

Barnard said while there are certain safety requirements that boaters need to be aware of, such as the law requiring any child under the age of 14 to "wear a personal flotation device, or life jacket, while the boat is in motion," simply maintaining a level of focus and determination while boating can go a long way to preventing any potential issues.

"It's just like driving on the road," he said. "You have to be vigilant of your surroundings, keep an eye on other boaters, as well as those that you have on board."

Memorial Day weekend 2014 begins Friday, May 23, and runs through Monday, May 26.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders get back in the debate ring Thursday with an increasingly bitter family score to settle
WASHINGTON (AP) — Grudge match.Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders get back in the debate ring Thursday night with an increasingly bitter family score to settle. The...
11:57AM ( 16 minutes ago )
More than 40 prison guards and officers in Georgia have been indicted on charges of accepting bribes and drug trafficking
ATLANTA (AP) — More than 40 prison guards and officers in Georgia have been indicted on charges of accepting bribes and drug trafficking, the latest in a federal effort to crack down on contraband and...
11:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
Gainesville seeking to sell three lots in golf club area
​The City of Gainesville is taking bids on three residential lots in the Chattahoochee Golf Club area it has listed for sale with the Abernathy Cochran Group at the Norton Agency.
10:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
Crews make another go at McEver Road project start in South Hall
​After a false start earlier this week because of weather, overhaul work on a portion of McEver Road was on track to begin Thursday.
10:47AM ( 1 hour ago )
Gainesville to update alcohol code for wine sampling
Some new rules are on the way for Gainesville businesses that offer wine samplings, thanks to an update to the city's alcoholic beverage ordinance presented Thursday morning to city council members.
10:37AM ( 1 hour ago )