April 12, 2007
Lake Blackshear-As the weather warms up, many of you will hit the water to cool off.
A day on the lake is fun, but it can be dangerous. In 2003, thirteen Georgians were killed in boating accidents and 109 were hurt.
The Department of Natural Resources doesn't want that to happen to you.
Boating can certainly be a lot of fun, but it can be dangerous if you're not careful. Just ask someone who knows first hand.
"I've been thrown out of a boat before going full speed," says DNR ranger Tommy Lawrence.
And it's an experience he remembers just like yesterday.
"It was a dark night, couldn't see very well, hit some kind of structure. I think it was a log," he says.
You can say Lawrence had to learn the hard way when it comes to practicing boat safety.
"Oh, yeah!" he says.
But many others haven't learned that lesson. Lawrence has seen more than his fair share of crazy boaters.
"Absolutely. Every year. The main thing we see out here on the lake and in many Georgia waters across the state is a failure to regulate speed," he says.
Which can ultimately prove deadly.
"You could risk injury to yourself. "You could even cause some body's death," he says.
So to make sure that doesn't happen, Lawrence will begin teaching a boating safety class once a month.
"We're going to have the class in the park office right up here as you come from Highway 280."
Lawrence is hoping for a large turnout. He wants to make sure what happened to him several years ago doesn't happen to anyone else.
"Just maintain your speed. Stay cautious," he says.
That way folks can continue enjoying the warm sun and the cool breeze that comes from boating.
If you're interested in learning how to be safe when boating,
The DNR will offer a free class this Saturday at Lake Blackshear for anyone twelve years and up.
The class will begin at 9 AM. Classes will take place once a month until August. Call the DNR at 276-2371 for more information.
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