Boating tips for Labor Day Weekend

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 6:18 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Labor Day weekend is a popular time for people to enjoy themselves, and one of the activities many enjoy is getting out on the water. Still, boating can be dangerous when alcohol is involved.

Law enforcement officials expect Labor Day weekend to be busy as usual, which means they will be on high alert for people boating under the influence.

“So this weekend is kind of like the last big boating hoorah of the year.”

Gregory Castelli is a game warden for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. He says they have seen a rise in the number of BUI’s boaters under the influence.

Gregory Castelli says, “They are up this year from last year, approximately 7 from last year. It’s roughly 30. It’s an increase for this area. In the past, we haven’t seen numbers quite like that, and we’re certainly hoping to try and get that down, but it it’s a big issue on the lake impairment can cause accidents, one of the biggest contributing factors to boating incidents and accidents fatalities.”

For people who may want to visit a bigger lake in Georgia like Lake Lanier, Capt. Robert Estrada, the owner of TowBoatUS, expects boating activity on the lake to “triple” this Labor Day holiday and urges boating safety fundamentals. Estrada says it’s important to have a sober boat operator.

“We don’t have lanes on in on the lake like you do on the road, so they’ll be going all different types of directions, and if you are sober, you’re a little bit more focused,” said Estrada.

Not only do you want to ensure that you have a sober driver, Game Warden Castelli also wants people to be sure they have all of the required safety equipment.

Castelli says, “Do a pre-launch check make sure you have all your safety equipment, including your life jackets or throwable your fire extinguisher. Make sure all those lights are gonna work if you’re gonna be out at night, and like I said, familiarize yourself with the water. You know some of the lakes around here can be difficult at times, depending on where you’re at.”

In Georgia, it is illegal to operate a boat if their blood alcohol level is over .08. Penalties can be as high as a thousand dollars.