Five Tips for Holiday Boating


These boats — and hundreds of others — will be on the lake this holiday weekend.

Crowded lakes can be dangerous lakes, especially when you combine fast boats with alcohol, sun, heat and bikinis.

Talk about distracted driving.

Law enforcement will be out enforcing the law this long holiday weekend.  With the 4th of July on Thursday, parties will begin on Wednesday and stagger all the way to next Sunday.

Have fun but survive.

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the weekend without trouble or tickets for boating violations.

Tip #1: Don’t Drink & Drive

  • Don’t drink and drive — on a boat or in any vehicle operated on public roads.  The new legal blood alcohol level for boaters is .08, down from last year’s .10.
  • DNR Rangers have made 71 arrests in 2013 on Georgia’s lakes and waterways.
  • Seven BUI arrests were made this year on Allatoona this year.
  • Operation Dry Water is no joke.  Drive impaired and you will be busted.

Tip #2: Check Your Boat’s Equipment

  • Do you have enough life preservers for you and your passengers?
  • Do your navigational lights work?
  • Will your guests overload your boat if you-know-who shows up?
  • Know your boat’s limits and don’t overcrowd your boat.  Rangers check for this because they want to save lives.

Tips #3: Watch Out for Bad Weather

Tip #4:  Watch Out for Other Boaters

  • Believe it or not, there are times when such navigational basics as shouting, “Watch out, you moron!” are not as effective as other methods.
  • No vessel has the “right-of-way” over another vessel; however, when operating a power-driven vessel, give way when any vessel is:
  • Not under command, such as an anchored or disabled vessel
  • Restricted in its ability to maneuver, such as a vessel towing another or laying cable, or one constrained by its draft, such as a large ship in a channel
  • Engaged in commercial fishing
  • A sailboat under sail, unless it is overtaking

Click Here for a Free Copy of GA’s Handbook of Boating Laws & Responsibilities

Study these Navigation Rules

 Tip #5: Be Sure Your Boat is Properly Registered

  • Sorry, painting a cool name on your boat isn’t enough.  You’ll need a GA Certificate of Boat Registration and validation decals to operate legally on public waters in Georgia.
  • Exceptions:
  • Sailboats under 12 feet in length
  • Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and rubber rafts that have no mechanical propulsion (i.e., boats that are paddled, poled, rowed, or windblown)
  • Vessels operated exclusively on private ponds or lakes
  • Vessels registered in other states and using Georgia waters for 60 days or less

Have a fabulous July 4th Holiday Weekend … without having to call a lawyer on Monday, July 8th to get you out of a sea of troubles.

Be smart.  Stay safe.

Click Here for Operation Dry Water