Credit: Devon Zwald
What to expect on Georgia's waterways this Fourth of July holiday
LISTEN: The Georgia Department of Natural Resources calls the Fourth of July holiday the busiest boating weekend of the year. As GPB's Devon Zwald explains, the heat will likely increase those numbers, making it more dangerous as people head to the water to cool off.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources calls the Fourth of July holiday weekend the busiest boating weekend of the year.
The heat will likely increase those numbers, making it more dangerous as people head to the water to cool off.
Maj. Stephen Adams with the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division said one thing you can do is make sure every boat has a designated driver, because boating drunk can be even worse than driving drunk.
"The heat, the wave action, the vibration of the boat compounded by the effects of alcohol, will make someone more impaired with the same amount of alcohol than if they were on the land," he said. "So again, we would encourage people to refrain from alcohol use if they're going to be driving a boat.”
He added that children under 13 in a moving vessel are required to wear a life jacket and that wakeboarders and wakesurfers should be aware of a newly enacted law.
HB 121 became law on July 1.
It requires wakeboarders and wakesurfers to stay 200 feet away from things like the shoreline, anchored boats and bridges. It also requires the wakeboarder or wakesurfer to wear a U.S Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
Adams said 200 feet isn't very far.
"You know, two-thirds of a football field, roughly, is 200 feet. What we would encourage people is if you think you're 200, go to 250," he said.
Game wardens will be out in force to keep people safe throughout the holiday weekend.
Other tips from Adams to stay safe include:
- “Know the rules of the road. Know who has the right of way and use some courtesy.”
- If you’re planning to watch fireworks by boat, he said, “make sure your lights work before you go to the fireworks show. Don't find out the lights on your vessel don't work after the fireworks show.”