Boating Tips for Memorial Day Holiday

DNR Rangers Patrolling Lake Lanier ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland
DNR Rangers Patrolling Lake Lanier ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Will you be joining thousands of other boaters on Lake Lanier over Memorial Day?  Here are a few ways to ensure safe boating for you and your friends.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division there were 112 boating incidents and 16 boating-related fatalities in 2013 in Georgia, and conservation rangers made 160 boating under the influence arrests.

“Your attention to safety rules and alertness to other people on the water can save lives,” said Col. Eddie Henderson, division director.  “It is your role to be as safe as possible so you are in control of your vessel and anything unexpected that happens on the water.”

Please follow these safety rules:

  • Designate an operator.  Do not drink and operate a boat. Georgia law changed in 2013 to move the blood alcohol content level to .08 to match Georgia driving law.
  • Take a boating safety course.  Beginning July 1, 2014 all boat operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1998 are required to have completed a DNR-approved boater safety course before operating a motorized vessel on Georgia waters.  Visit for course information.
  • 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 highly recommended for EVERYONE to wear a life jacket.
  • Don’t overload your boat with people or equipment. Check 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.

Safe Boating in Georgia

Click Here for Info on Boating in Georgia.

Several videos on boating-related laws in Georgia, including the boater education requirement effective July 1, are available at

About Author

Robert J. Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life in Gainesville, GA.
Robert has two adult daughters, seven practically perfect grandchildren and a zippy Kawasaki. Contact Robert at [email protected].

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