While there was plenty of activity on Lake Lanier and other Georgia waterways for the Fourth of July weekend, the holiday was less deadly than it was in 2020, a year when the pandemic was supposed to curb activities.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources released a report Tuesday morning with boating statistics compiled from 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 3 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, July 5.
During that time frame, authorities made 27 arrests for boating under the influence (BUI), most of those in the Albany region. Seven BUI arrests were made in the Gainesville region, five of those on Lake Lanier. In 2020, there were 13 BUIs in the Gainesville region.
A total of seven boating incidents were reported on Lake Lanier resulting in five injuries. The Hall County Sheriff's Office released information on one of the incidents - a boat fire that happened just before 6 p.m. Saturday, July 3 in the Big Creek Park area. Two adults were taken to Grady Hospital in Atlanta for treatment of burns.
Mark McKinnon with the Georgia Department of Transportation offered brief details on the other incidents:
- A vessel capsized and was submerged in Shoal Creek on Saturday, July 3. Five people were on board. No was was injured.
- A vessel ran aground on the Chestatee River on Saturday, July 3. No injuries were reported.
- On Sunday, July 4, a bass boat struck a wave resulting in a broken transom and motor mount. No injuries were reported.
- Two people were thrown while tubing on Lake Lanier in Hall County. One person was injured and taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment. The incident happened Sunday afternoon.
- Also on Sunday afternoon, a houseboat struck a dock and vessel that was attached to it in Orr Creek. No injuries were reported.
- On Sunday night, two boats collided in Shoal Creek Sunday night. Several people sustained minor injuries and one person was transported to Northside Forsyth Hospital. Both vessels suffered major damage and the operator of the striking vessel was arrested for BUI.
There were two drownings in Georgia over the holiday weekend, according to DNR officials. On Sunday evening, Armando Esteban Sanchez Martinez, 22 of Greer, SC, drowned in Lake Hartwell in Northeast Georgia. By the time EMTs arrived at the scene at the Big Oak day-use area, bystanders had pulled Martinez from the water. He could not be revived.
The other drowning occurred before daylight Monday at a private pond in Turner County in south central Georgia. DNR officials said two people were riding on a jet ski and both were thrown into the water. One person swam back to land, but the other remains missing. The name of the victim has not been released.
During the 2020 holiday, there was one drowning and one boating fatality on Lake Lanier.