What awaits you on the waterways of Georgia on this holiday of July 4th

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources cites the July 4th holiday weekend as the busiest boating weekend of the year.

The heat is likely to increase these numbers, making it more dangerous for people to head into the water to cool off.

Maj Stephen Adams of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Branch said one thing to do is ensure every boat has a designated driver because drunk boating can be worse than drunk driving.

“The heat, the wave action, the vibrations of the boat, compounded by the effects of alcohol, will affect someone with the same amount of alcohol more than if they were on land,” he said. “So once again we want to encourage people to abstain from alcohol when driving a boat.”

He added that children under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket on a moving vessel and that wakeboarders and wakesurfers should be aware of a newly enacted law.

HB 121 came into effect on July 1.

Wakeboarders and wakesurfers must keep a distance of 200 feet from things like the shore, anchored boats, and bridges. In addition, the wakeboarder or wakesurfer must wear a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

Adams said 200 feet isn’t very far.

“You know, two-thirds of a football field is about 200 feet long. We want to encourage people, if you think you’re 200, go to 250,” he said.

During the bank holiday weekend, game wardens will be on duty in large numbers to keep people safe.

Other tips from Adams to stay safe include:

  • “You know the traffic rules. Know who has the right of way and be polite.”
  • If you’re planning on going to see a fireworks show by boat, he said, “Make sure your lights are working before you go to the fireworks show.” Don’t find out the lights on your ship aren’t working after the fireworks show.”


This article comes to Now Habersham via a news partnership with GPB News