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Lake Lanier Expected to Draw Crowds for Labor Day

A number of boating fatalities occurred on the popular lake this summer; the Georgia Department of Natural Resources offers important boating safety tips for the upcoming three-day weekend.

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.

But this this summer has been a particularly deadline season for boating accident fatalities on Lake Lanier.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, there have been 96 boating incidents, 9 boating-incident-related fatalities and 33 drownings on Georgia Waters.

Conservation rangers have also issued 167 boating-under-the-influence citations.

This year a number of the fatalities involved nearby residents:

  • In April 59-year-old was killed when his boat was struck by another near Buford Dam.
  • In June, were killed when their family's pontoon boat was struck by another during an evening outing with friends.
  • And in July, , and the former step-son of superstar Usher, was killed when a jet ski driver ran over the tow line on the inner tube he and another child were riding on.

"Holiday weekends create a need for increased safety awareness from all boaters," said Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver in a Georgia DNR press release. "As always, conservation rangers will stricktly 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."

The DNR issued the following safety tips:

  1. Designate an operator. Do not drink and operate a boat. 
  2. Take a boating safety course.Visit www.goboatgeorgia.com [1] for course listings. 
  3. Wear a life jacket. Children under 10 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Use navigation lights at ALL times when on the water at night. Check lights before it gets dark. 
  6. 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. 

For more information, visit www.goboatgeorgia.com/boating/safety

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