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Officials urge caution on water
Labor Day weekend is here
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SOCIAL CIRCLE — The upcoming Labor Day holiday is expected to bring people to the water to celebrate for one more warm-weather weekend.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division stresses the importance of safety for all boat drivers and passengers. Accidents and fatalities can be prevented by reviewing the following safety tips:
• Designate an operator. Do not drink and operate a boat. This year, Georgia law changed to move the blood alcohol-content level to .08 to match Georgia’s driving law.  
• Take a boating-safety course. Go to for course listings.  
• Wear a life jacket. Children under 13 years of age are required by law to wear a life jacket while onboard a moving vessel, but it’s recommended that everyone wear a life jacket.
• Don’t overload a boat with people or equipment. Check on the capacity plate for the maximum weight or the maximum number of people the boat safely can carry.
• Use navigation lights at all times when on the water at night. Check lights before it gets dark.
• Watch the 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.
• New Education Law begins July 2014. Anyone born after January 1, 1998 will be required to complete a boat-education course in order to operate any vessel.
 For more information, go to
 Several new videos have been created on recent and upcoming boating-related changes in Georgia; go to to view them.

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