Waterways busy with boaters this holiday weekend

Waterways busy with boaters this holiday weekend

The July 4th weekend is one of the busiest at Lake Blackshear. Officers will be out in full force and they're asking folks to be careful while on the boat and on shore.

DNR officers are getting their boats ready for the busy July 4th weekend.  "We're going to have everyone working, we're going to have two patrol boats on Lake Blackshear the entire weekend," said Corporal Bob Holley, with DNR. "We're going to be out there patrolling for violations and to keep people safe."

Lake Blackshear is already buzzing with boats, kayaks and jet skis. Officers urge folks to check their lights now if they plan to watch the fireworks display on the water. "Lights are not so you can see, but so you can be seen. The only way the other vessels can know where you're at, it's the avenue they use to avoid collisions out here is to be able to see your vessel lights," explained Holley.
Lake Blackshear is also a draw for people like Crystal Smith and her family, who hit the beach. "We've got like 10 adults, so there's two kids per adult out here so we can keep our eye on them. You just watch them, count them, bring them in every now and them, take a head count, then send them back out," said Smith.

Just last weekend 28-year-old Deshrick Howard drowned in this area after going out past the posted swimming area.

"I guess the biggest thing, if we can just encourage people to stay inside that area that is marked for swimmers, once you get beyond that yellow buoy out there, the surface of that lake bottom drops off dramatically," explained Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock. No lifeguard is on duty, but there are life preservers handy in case of an emergency.

While many hope to have fun in the sun this holiday weekend, officials urge you to do it safely. Officials always remind you to not drink and drive, or drink and operate a boat. 

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