DNR keeps boaters safe - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

DNR keeps boaters safe

Posted: Updated:

Michelle Powell is enjoying the 4th of July with her family at Lake Blackshear.

"We've been coming out here for the last 15 years every 4th of July. It's like a family tradition," said Powell.

Like others at the lake, Powell has children that will be in the water and says safety is a top priority.

"It's very important. You have to watch out for these other boaters because it can get dangerous out here," said Powell.

Department of Natural Resources officer David Brady says operating a boat is like driving a car and there are rules in place to make sure boaters are safe.

"You really need to be familiar with the rules of the road whenever you're operating a vessel, anything from a jet ski to a PWC, up to some of the larger boats. Life jackets are one of the most important things. Any child under the age of ten must have a life jacket on while the boat is under power. That's very important," said Brady.

While cops patrol the highways to crack down on drunk drivers, the waterways are no different and the DNR is on the lookout for impaired boaters.

Drinking on a boat is legal in the state of Georgia as long as the driver isn't drinking any alcohol or they will be charged with a BUI (Boating under the influence).

"Depending on what the alcohol concentration is, your privilege to operate a boat on the waters in the state of Georgia can and will be suspended. If you're going to drink, there's no problem with that, just make sure you have a sober operator behind the wheel," said Brady.

Not only does Officer Brady want everyone who visits the lake to have a good time, but to do it responsibly.

"We want people to enjoy themselves and have a good time, but safety is the number one thing. The public's safety is the number one thing," said Brady.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.