Summer activities are once again kicking off at full force in Georgia. Over the past couple of months, thousands of Georgians have enjoyed walk off wins at Turner Field, thrilling rides at Six Flags over Georgia, adventurous and refreshing weekends at White Water theme park, and fun-filled fishing excursions along the Chattahoochee river. Nevertheless, as the days get longer, and the temperatures continue to rise, families will begin to search for cooler, and more relaxing, alternatives.
Between tubing, wake boarding, water skiing, fishing, boating, and swimming, Georgia’s beautiful lakes offer countless fun and relaxing, family oriented activities to counter the heat. While all of these activities are incredibly entertaining and enjoyable, they should be pursued with extreme caution and awareness – especially with regard to boating.
Take Lake Lanier, for example. Since 2010, Georgia’s Lake Lanier has seen 16 deaths caused by boating accidents. That is more boating deaths recorded than in the previous 10 years combined. Additionally, as tragic fatalities increase, so do BUI (Boating Under the Influence) tickets. In 2012, Lake Lanier rangers issued 56 BUI tickets, which was up by more than 50% over 2011.
All too often, boaters casually prepare for a day on the lake and neglect legal regulations. Many do not bring life jackets with them on the water, and some choose to operate their water vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Regardless of the fact that there are no roads, street lights, or stop signs on the water, driving a boat is equally as dangerous as driving a vehicle on land. My advice for folks who want to enjoy a fun, and equally safe, weekend on the lake? Do not operate your vehicle while intoxicated, be cautious, courteous, and aware of others on the lake, and absolutely follow every law as regulated by the lake’s rangers.