Labor Day weekend is typically the last big hurrah for recreational boaters, water and jet ski enthusiasts to enjoy Lake Lanier once more before cooler weather sets in.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNA) is stressing the importance of boating safety over the three-day holiday.
"Conservation rangers will strictly enforce all boating laws in an effort to keep everyone safe," said DNA's Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver, "but we also encourage people to pay extra attention to others on the water."
According to the DNR for the first eight months of 2013, there have been 68 boating incidents, eight boating incident-related fatalities and 22 total drownings on Georgia waters. Rangers have also issued 140 boating-under-the-influence (BUI) citations.
Following are DNR boating safety 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.
Wear a life jacket. Children under 13 years old 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.
At night use navigation lights at all times when on the water. 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.
New Education Law Begins July 2014. Anyone born after January 1, 1998 will be required to complete a Boat Education course in order to operate any vessel.