Labor Day Safe Boating Tips

DNR Rangers on patrol. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

DNR Rangers on patrol. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

We’re finally getting the summer weather we’ve been used to over the years in Georgia, after many soggy weeks around Lake Allatoona.

The Labor Day weekend officially closes out the summer season and brings amateurs out on the lakes to celebrate.

Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver of Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources says, “While the Labor Day holiday weekend is not typically as busy as early and mid-summer holidays, there still is a need for increased safety awareness from all boaters.  Conservation rangers will strictly enforce all boating laws in an effort to keep everyone safe, but we also encourage people to pay extra attention to others on the water.”

Georgia has seen 68 boating incidents, eight boating-incident-related fatalities and 22 total drownings in 2013.  DNR rangers handed out 140 BUI (boating under the influence) citations.

Please help prevent boating accidents by following these safe boating tips:

  • Designate an operator. Do not drink and operate a boat. This year, Georgia law changed to move the blood alcohol content level to .08 to match Georgia driving law.
  • Take a boating safety course.Visit for course listings.
  • Wear a life jacket. Children under 13 years of age are required by law to wear a life jacket while onboard a moving vessel, but it’s recommended for EVERYONE to wear a life jacket.
  • Don’t overload your boat with people or equipment. Check on the capacity plate for the maximum weight or the maximum number of people the boat can safely carry.
  • Use navigation lights at ALL times when on the water at night. Check lights before it gets dark.
  • Watch your speed. The 100-foot law applies to ALL size vessels and prohibits operation at speeds greater than idle speed within 100 feet of any vessel, unless overtaking or meeting another vessel in compliance with the rules of the road.

Things will change for the better beginning in July of 2014, when folks born after January 1, 1998 will be required to complete a Boat Education course in order to operate any vessel in Georgia.

Click Here for More Boating Safety Information