DNR officials working to ensure a fun and safe holiday weekend

Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 11:58 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - In 2021, Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources saw seven incidents where boaters drove under the influence.

Now, they’re seeing double these numbers.

Officials are preparing for the Labor Day boating crowd this weekend. DNR wants boaters to have fun while being safe.

Unfortunately, they’ve seen an uptick in boating under the influence.

“We have arrested over 10 operators for this year,” said Game Warden 1st Class DNR Saxon Campbell.

If caught drunk while operating, you will be arrested and can have your boating license suspended for up to a year.

“It’s not illegal to be drinking while behind the wheel, it just being above the legal limit,” said Campbell.

They say it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“It’s best to have a sober operator,” he said.

With water levels being lower this time of the summer, DNR crews will be making sure boaters are practicing safety measures.

Game Warden 1st Class DNR Levi Thompson said: “That includes personal floatation devices also known as life jackets. You need to have one per person on board.

If you are kayaking, you have to have a life jacket on board with you.

For kids especially, the jacket has to be the right size.

“If you have a child in an adult jacket and they go into the water it could easily slip off of them,” said Thompson.

You can boat at any time, day or night, but you cannot use a jet ski or go tubing after sunset.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to avoid an accident on the lake,” he said.

Children under the age of 13 need to have on a life jacket anytime the boat is moving in Georgia. It’s 12 and under in South Carolina.

DNR wants to remind everyone of the possibility of storms over the holiday weekend.