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The DNR reports that Boating Accidents in Georgia over the 2014 Memorial Day Weekend were similar to 2013

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The Georgia Department of Natural Resources reported that boating incidents over the 2014 Memorial Day Holiday Weekend were similar to 2013 with two (2 ) drownings in 2014, and two (2) drowings in 2013. The drownings in 2014 were as follows: Eighteen-year-old (18) Chance Werner drowned in Lake Allatoona after an accident at Dock D of Holiday Harbor Marina in Bartow County; and William Brown drowned in the Atlantic Ocean near Tybee Island. Mr. Brown's body was recovered from the Atlantic Ocean by Tybee Island Police Department.

Five (5) were Injured on Georgia Waterways During Memorial Day Weekend this year, while there were six (6) Boating-Related Injuries in 2013. Boating Under the Influence in 2014 was 32, down significantly from 42 in 2013, with BUIs this year on some of the larger lakes including Allatoona, 1; Lanier, 10; Oconee,1; Clarks Hill, 3; Sinclair, 1; Jackson, 1.

Boating Incidents in 2014 were nine (9), up one from eight (8) last year, and the incidents this year were as follows as Reported by Rangers:

  • Lanier (5/24): PWC ran into a boat in Shoal Creek-0 injuries
    Lanier (5/25): Fire on a Pontoon-Bald Ridge Creek-0 injuries
    Lanier (5/25): Boat that Sank near Aqualand Marina-0 injuries
    Lanier (5/25): PWC and vessel collision near Van Pugh Park-2 minor injuries
    Hartwell (5/25): minor incident-0 injuries
    West Point (5/25): Tubing incident where a tuber was thrown off tube/injuring neck/shoulder
    Lanier (5/26): 15 year-old fell off a pontoon in Chestatee River area and was struck by boat (transported to NE Ga Medical Center)
    Lanier (5/26): Fisherman pushed his boat away from Lula Bridge and fell into water, inhaled water while under (transported to NE GA Medical Center)
    Lanier (5/26): Rangers working one incident in Burton Mill area (details not available)

The DNR published the following as some of the top safety rules that should be followed when boating:

1.) Designate an operator of the Boat just like you would designate a Driver for your car if you were going to be drinking: It is important to note that Georgia Law changed in 2013 to move the blood alcohol content level to .08 to match Georgia driving law to send the message: Dot drink and operate a boat. This message seems to be getting across since there were 10 less Boating Under the Influence (BUI) charges in 2014 than in 2013 as stated herein above.

2.) Take a boating safety course: It is very important to note that the law has changed and that beginning July 1, 2014 all boat operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1998 are required to have completed a DNR-approved boater safety course before operating a motorized vessel on Georgia waters. Visit this website: http://www.goboatgeorgia.com/boating/education for course information.

3.) Wear a life jacket: Under Law, children under 13 years of age are required by law to wear a life jacket while onboard a moving vessel. It is highly recommended, however, for EVERYONE to wear a life jacket.

4.) Don't overload your boat with people or equipment: It is important that you check the capacity plate for the maximum weight or the maximum number of people the boat can safely carry, and not to exceed this limit.

5.) Use navigation lights at ALL times when on the water at night: It important to check lights before it gets dark, as then it will be too late.

6.) Watch your speed: As with vehicles, speed kills. The 100-foot law that prohibits operation at speeds greater than idle speed within 100 feet of any vessel, unless overtaking or meeting another vessel in compliance with the rules of the road, applies to ALL size vessels.

About Safe Boating in Georgia: For more information about boating in Georgia, visit the following website: http://www.goboatgeorgia.com/boating. To learn more about the 2013 Boating Regulations in GA you may watch this informational video found on our website.

As I discussed in my blog posted titled, Boating Accidents can cause Death and Responsible Parties can be held Criminally liable in Georgia, I outlined the specific and extensive duties in Georgia in the event of a boating accident.

At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates, we want everyone to enjoy the fun in the sun, and be safe in the water. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a boating accident, then please feel free to Contact Us at any time by phone at 770-865-8654, or (813) 363-6664, or by email at [email protected], on this blog, and/or on our website. We are experts in boating accidents and injuries and we are here to assist you today.

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