Safety first on Lake Blackshear - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Safety first on Lake Blackshear

September 2, 2007

Crisp County -- It was a dreary Labor Day weekend on Lake Blackshear. But the sporadic rainfall and cooler than normal temperatures didn't stop Keith Russell from taking his kids out for a swim.

While enjoying the last weekend of summer was the goal for Russell and his kids, he adds, "safety's the main thing."

So far in 2007, just under 40 people have drowned in Georgia waters. The 39th and latest victim, Billy Williams Jr. , died Friday on Lake Blackshear when he fell overboard and drowned while fishing. Friday's drowning marked the second drowning death in Lake Blackshear this summer.

With that in mind, Russell keeps an extra eye open when his kids are in the water. "You have to watch them non-stop. I mean, with 3 kids, you have to keep an eye on them," says Russell.

While the cloudy skies kept the waters relatively quiet this Sunday, Douglasville native Perry Harris still makes sure his 5-year-old twin sons, Brett and Bryson, are safely secured in their life vests.

"It's not as crowded out here today with boats, so that doesn't make as concerned. Still, you just make sure you watch out for other boats, keep them in their life vests, and don't take your eye off of them," says Harris.

And while summer officially comes to a close for modern day Tarzan's, acrobatic jet tubers, and little swimmers; safety first goes a long way in allowing for a good time had by all.

While the crowds were down Sunday at Lake Blackshear, DNR officials expect them to pick up Monday for the official Labor Day holiday.

One thing they do stress is the importance of wearing a life jacket on a boat. For kids under 10 years of age, that's the law.

DNR also warns even the most experienced swimmers to not swim beyond designated swimming areas.

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