Tips for a safe holiday weekend on the water - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tips for a safe holiday weekend on the water

August 28, 2003

Cordele-- The death of a University of Georgia student on Lake Blackshear a week ago brought new attention to the dangers of boating. To prevent another fatality on the water, DNR rangers want to educate you on how to play it safe this Labor Day Weekend.

This is ranger Tommy Lawrence's fourth summer on Lake Blackshear. The lake is quiet today, "Oh definitely, definitely, right now it's dead, it's just us and the geese and a couple fishermen. This weekend it will be a whole different story."

Lawrence wants this holiday weekend's story to have a happy ending--much different than Thursday's deadly boating wreck at this train trestle near Smoak Bridge, "This is the first alcohol related fatality that we've had since I've been here, it's my fourth summer and I hope it's a long time before we have another one too."

To prevent another death, the rules are simple. RFC Lawrence says, "Two things, that way they are sure to come back another day and have a good time. It's maintain a safe speed and keep a sharp lookout. If you do those two things you will be okay."

Another rule to follow that will keep the weekend safe: designate a boat driver, "I don't have a problem with alcohol on the boat, but I have a problem when someone gets behind here and operates. Get a "D.D." --there are people everywhere that don't drink that know how to drive boats."

Keep a safe speed, stay sharp, and don't drink and operate a boat--three easy rules to live by that will help keep you alive.

Ranger Tommy Lawrence says the most violated rule is the one-hundred foot law. Boaters are supposed to stay at idle speed within one-hundred feet of any vessel that is anchored, moored, or adrift. You also have to idle near swimmers, docks, skiers in the water, and the shoreline.

Posted at 3:30 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com