Someone's watching you on the lake - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Someone's watching you on the lake

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August 30, 2004

Lake Blackshear - We all know drinking and driving can be dangerous and deadly, not only on dry land, but also on the water.

A year ago, this month, a young college student died on Lake Blackshear. Department of Natural Resources Boating Safety Officer, Tommy Lawrence, says, "It's been a little over a year ago."

You may remember what happened a year ago, a University of Georgia student died on Lake Blackshear. Lawrence will never forget, he adds, "Reality sets in when you see something at that level, it sets in real fast."

The driver crashed the ski boat into a train trestle after a night mixed with alcohol. Lawrence says, "Those two put together contributed to the main accident."

And officers of the water want to make sure it doesn't happen again during the long holiday weekend. Officers pull up to boaters and chat with them , but they also have boat cameras as partners.

The cameras not only pick up what's going on around you, but also what's being said. Lawrence explains, "What is said by the officer and what is said by the person in the other boat."

Giving DNR officers something to fall back on. Lawrence admits, "A tremendous decrease in complaints."

Two patrol boats on Lake Blackshear have cameras and if you haven't done anything wrong, you're free to go.

Officers are hoping a little talking and watching will prevent what happened last year.

Team Georgia, a group campaigning for safer boating, encourages you to slow down, pick a sober driver and make sure children have the correct life jackets on.

So far this year, there have been 13 fatalities on Georgia waters.

posted at 6:25PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com