With so much focus on the highways this Independence Day, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is encouraging boaters to play it safe on the water.
“With the Fourth of July right around the corner, I ask that boaters take this tragedy into serious consideration while celebrating during the holiday,” Gov. Nathan Deal said in a news release. “Safety must be a priority at all times. I assure you that state and local officers will work cooperatively to arrest violators of boating laws.”
Officials offer a number of tips for staying safe on the waters this holiday, including wearing a life vest, not drinking while boating and knowing the rules for boating. They also suggest taking a boating safety class.
“It is easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit, but do not let the excitement of being out on the water deter you from your responsibility,” Georgia DNR Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver said in a news release. “Be alert and prepared for the safety of your passengers and for others on the water.”
To date in 2012, there have been 54 boating incidents in Georgia, which have resulted in 22 injuries and five deaths, DNR numbers show. There have also been 17 drownings on public waters, and rangers have issued 63 boating under the influence (BUI) citations statewide, the DNR said.