With the Labor Day weekend just hours away, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is once again issuing safety reminders for those who plan to swim and boat on Lake Lanier.
Mark McKinnon, spokesman for the agency, told WDUN's Mornings on Maine this week that a promising weather forecast means big crowds on Lanier, Hartwell and other Georgia lakes. With crowds, though, come safety issues.
"It's been a really busy summer. With the [coronavirus] this summer, there have been very limited recreation opportunities for a lot of people, but the lakes have remained open," McKinnon said. "We've experienced higher-than-normal traffic throughout the year, which unfortunately has led to some higher numbers with fatalities and drownings and also boating under the influence [cases]."
Over the Fourth of July weekend, two people drowned in Lake Lanier, and McKinnon said rangers certainly don't want to see a repeat of those tragedies.
He said swimmers need to understand that jumping into Lanier - or any other lake, for that matter - is much different that taking a dip in a swimming pool.
"In a natural body of water you often can't see very far below the surface, so you don't know what's there," McKinnon said. "Most people don't realize that lakes are typically just very wide river channels, so there is current there and that current brings in things like stumps and logs and things that may be just below the surface that you can't see...of course, with Lake Lanier, there's a forest on the bottom.
McKinnon said Labor Day weekend will mean additional rangers will be patrolling Lanier, watching in particular for violators of the 100-foot rule, as well as those who are drinking alcohol and operating vessels.
Follow this link to find an overview of Georgia's boating laws.