SOCIAL CIRCLE — Stay sober and know the laws when operating a boat this holiday weekend, urges the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division.
“We know that many people will be on the water with family and friends during the upcoming holiday weekend,” Chief of Law Enforcement Col. Eddie Henderson said. “In an effort to keep everyone safe, we encourage boat operators to stay sober and alert and know Georgia’s boating laws before heading out on the water.”
DNR offers the following safety rules for boat and personal watercraft operators:
• Designate an operator. Do not drink and operate a boat.
• Take a boating-safety course. Visit www.goboatgeorgia.com for course listings.
• Wear a life jacket. Children younger than 10 years of age are required by law to wear a life jacket while onboard a moving boat, but it’s recommended for everyone to wear a life jacket.
• Don’t overload your boat with people or equipment. Check on the capacity plate for the maximum weight or the maximum number of people the boat can safely carry.
• Use navigation lights at all times when on the water at night. Check lights before it gets dark.
• Watch your speed. The 100-foot law applies to all size vessels and 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.
Watercraft operators also should be aware of these additional safety rules:
• Do not jump the wake of another boat.
• Pay attention to your surroundings and make sure you stay well clear of other vessels.
• Know Georgia’s age requirements for PWC operation.
• Make sure everyone who operates your PWC is aware of boating laws and how to safely operate a PWC. As the owner, you can be held responsible.
For more information, go to www.goboatgeorgia.com/boating/safety .