GA law enforcement agencies warn of boating, driving dangers ahead of Memorial Day

GA law enforcement agencies warn of boating, driving dangers ahead of Memorial Day

This weekend, lots of people will celebrate the Memorial Day holiday out on Lake Blackshear in Crisp County.

"Come Saturday, there are going to be a lot of folks out on these waters," said Harris Blackwood, Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director.

Each year, around 16 people die in boating related accidents on the waters in Georgia.

That's why the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, Georgia State Patrol and Department of Natural Resources gathered at Lake Blackshear Thursday afternoon to drive home an important point.

"We're trying so hard to get the message out that this is the time you can make some decisions that will end up saving lives," said Blackwood.

DNR rangers will patrol the waters looking for anything that could bring danger, like those boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver with DNR said alcohol and boats don't mix.

"You're in the open, you have wind, noise and there's boats going in all different directions," he said.

Officials said life jackets are just as important because they save lives.

"Out on the waterways, the life jacket is your lifeline," Lt. Col. Weaver said. "You need to make sure you've got all your safety equipment, make sure you familiarize yourself with the terrain, the water, and the operation of the boat."

Children under 13 are legally required to wear a life jacket at all times on a boat.

It is required that you have one wearable life jacket for each person on the boat, a throwable flotation device, and a fire extinguisher on board.

Those same officials also issued some reminders as you hit the road this weekend.

Remember to wear your seatbelt, don't drink and drive, don't be distracted, and don't speed.

"We don't want the celebration of the sacrifice of what's provided in the country that we have to turn into a personal tragedy for a person, or their family or somebody else," said Col. Mark McDonough with Georgia State Patrol.

12 people died on the roads during the 2016 Memorial Day travel period.

This year's travel period starts Friday at 6 p.m. and goes through midnight Monday.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.