Friday October 9th, 2015 2:54AM

State sees more drownings this year; boating accidents down

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) -- Tougher laws have led to a decline in boating accidents and incident-related fatalities for a second straight year in Georgia, but not all the numbers are promising.<br /> <br /> Boating under the influence citations are up, and there's been a significant uptick in drownings - 33 so far in 2014, up from 22 the year before. <br /> <br /> Still, the overall trend lines are moving in the right direction. There have been only six boating incident-related fatalities in 2014, one-third the annual average of 18 since 1985. While the drownings have risen since 2013, the totals are still well below the average of 52 each of the past 15 years, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.<br /> <br /> The uptick in BUIs reflect new laws that lowered the blood-alcohol content threshold from .10 to .08, state law enforcement officials say, but the 158 citations issued is still a far cry from the annual average of 274 over the last two decades. Legislators strengthened boating laws following two well-publicized incidents on Lake Lanier in 2012 that killed three children, including two brothers.<br /> <br /> Taking note of the stricter standards, Vince Smith apparently drew the short stick as he celebrated the holiday with 23 friends on a rented houseboat.<br /> <br /> "I'm the designated driver," said Smith, 24, as his friends sipped cocktails with music booming from the radio, "so I'm not too worried."<br /> <br /> Also this year, the state began mandating safety courses for boaters born after July 1, 1998. Also, renters of boats with a 10-horsepower engine or larger are now required to take safety classes.<br /> <br /> "The Labor Day weekend is not usually as busy as Memorial Day or the July 4th weekends," said Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver, assistant director of DNR's Law Enforcement Division. The volume appeared manageable Monday on Lanier - which draws 7.5 million visitors annually - even in Sunset Cove, a popular destination for revelers. (See separate story for a report on activity over the Labor Day weekend on Lanier and around the state.)<br /> <br /> "We were planning on going to a quieter cove by now but it really hasn't been that crowded here," said Ashley Elliott, 39, of Cumming.<br /> <br /> Elliott said she's noticed an increase in law enforcement on the lake, a development she said she welcomes, "to a point."<br /> <br /> "Sometimes they go a little overboard," she said.<br />
© Copyright 2015
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 ( 9 months 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 ( 9 months 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 ( 9 months ago )
Local/State News
Isakson, Perdue attack part of bill they say sides with Ala. in water wars
Georgia Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue Thursday urged Senate leaders to remove language in the Energy and Water appropriations bill they say is a direct attack on Georgia in its ongoing water dispute with Alabama.
By AccessWDUN staff
6:56PM ( 7 hours ago )
Gainesville property tax bills in the mail
City of Gainesville property owners will be receiving their tax bill this week with a due date of December 7.
By AccessWDUN staff
5:50PM ( 9 hours ago )
D.A.: Moran gets life without parole in Gainesville taxi driver murder
A Gainesville woman was sentenced to life in prison without parole Thursday in murder of a Gainesville taxi driver earlier this year.
2:34PM ( 12 hours ago )
Special Olympics World Games gold medal winner from Gainesville to be honored
A young man from Gainesville, who won a gold medal at the Special Olympics World Games earlier this year, will be honored, along with his parents, in Atlanta next week.
By AccessWDUN staff
12:56PM ( 13 hours ago )
Delta and Alaska rank best for on-time arrivals, Spirit ranks at the bottom
The U.S. Department of Transportation said Thursday that the nation's leading carriers posted an on-time rate of 80.3 percent in August.
12:28PM ( 14 hours ago )