Preparation and Moderation Make for Safer Boating

Boating is an enjoyable activity for many in Georgia. It can be even better with some precautions to help ensure the experience is not marred by a tragic boating accident, like the recent hit-and-run collision on Lake Lanier that killed two children.

Last year Georgia boaters were involved in 121 accidents that left 77 people injured and 15 dead, according to Department of Natural Resources statistics.

Excessive Alcohol and Boating Don't Mix Well

In the Lake Lanier incident, an intoxicated 44 year old man crashed his fishing boat into a pontoon boat, killing the two children.

After the children were killed, state legislators recognized a need to bring drunk boating laws in line with drunk driving laws for drivers on Georgia roads. Currently, the legal blood alcohol content limit for boater operators is.10 percent, and legislation is in the works that will lower the legal blood alcohol limit to .08 percent, the same as for motorists.

Follow Common Sense for Increased Safety

Besides exercising restraint in using alcohol, boaters can benefit from this Department of Natural Resources advice: wear a life jacket. The law requires life jackets for children under age 10, but everyone will be safer wearing one.

While there are no lane markers on the water, boaters should observe the passing law, just like drivers on the highway. On busy water, boaters should slow down. Courtesy and knowing what to expect from other boaters makes for a safer experience.

If there are plans to be on the water after dark, boaters will need to be visible, so it is important to double-check the boat's lights to be sure they are in good working order.

Accidents happen even with the best preparation. Anyone who is injured in a boating accident due to someone else's negligence should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can file a claim to seek compensation for losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

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