DNR encourages boater safety - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

DNR encourages boater safety

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May 29, 2005

Lake Blackshear- South Georgia's waterways have remained fairly safe over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. This weekend marks the beginning of the boating season and as boaters and jet skiers take to the water, the Department of Natural Resources is reminding them safety first.

Many this weekend were looking for a place to cool off or for just a little fun.

"We bass fish, so we get out about daylight and we try and get in by 11 o'clock, especially on weekends I figure. It's tough on weekends after the jet skiers, and the skiers get going," said Ken Dikes, Leesburg.

Trying to be out on the water when it's not as busy is just one way some boaters practice safety. The Department of Natural Resources is reminding all boaters to remember the rules.

"We have lifejackets and we just try to be really careful," said Brenda Weatherford of Perry.

"We still take all the safety precautions, we wear our life vests and got our kill switch on you know even early in the morning we put our running lights on because most times we're out before daylight," said Dikes.

"Make sure you got all your safety equipment working, you got enough life jackets on the boat for everybody, you got your fire extinguisher, your throwable device, and make sure all your equipment in general is up and running and ready to go," said Jon Penuel, DNR Ranger.

DNR crews out patrolling many of the lakes, like Lake Blackshear and Lake Chehaw are keeping a watchful eye out for boaters who might try and spoil others fun.

"Checking Boater registrations, make sure nobody's violating the no wake zones or the idle speed only zones, the 100 foot rule, different things like that," said Penuel.

They say everyone on the water needs to pay close attention and follow the signs to avoid dangerous areas like the blind curves at Lake Chehaw.

"Sometimes people fail to recognize the markers or just aren't paying attention. Sometimes it can get pretty dangerous when they come into these zones," said Penuel.

And they say, just like on the road drinking and driving can be dangerous.

"Alcohol and boats don't mix, you can get a BUI on a boat just like you can in a vehicle on the road," said Penuel.

The DNR says, they have made two BUI arrests in South Gerogia this holiday weekend one at Lake Blackshear and one at Lake George.

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