Georgia Power releases safe boating tips for Labor Day weekend

ATLANTA— As you celebrate one of the last boating weekends of the summer this Labor Day holiday, make sure you follow safe boating rules.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, this will be one of the busiest weekends on the lakes and rivers. So far this year, there have been 88 boating accidents and eight boating related deaths in Georgia.

Georgia Power manages 14 reservoirs, providing many boating opportunities, such as pleasure boating, fishing and skiing.

“We want to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend,” said Ben Harris, land vice president of Georgia Power. “One of the best ways to avoid water-related accidents and help save lives is by following all boating rules.” Georgia Power offers the following safety tips for boaters and operators of personal water crafts:

Know the boating rules:

Boating laws are enforced by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Before putting your boat on the water, make sure it can be launched there. According to Georgia State Law, no houseboats or boats with marine sanitary devices are allowed on Georgia’s lakes.

Make sure you don’t overcrowd the boat. Know your boat’s limit and don’t exceed it.

Bring the necessary safety equipment. All boats, regardless of length, must be equipped with and carry one U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket or personal flotation for each person on board. Encourage everyone to wear a life jacket while boating.

Children under the age of 10 on board must wear the correct sized life jacket at all times. An adult sized one is not appropriate or safe for a child.

All boats should carry one throwable safety ring or device. They are required on boats 16 feet and longer.

Make sure your boat is also equipped with other safety devices like fire extinguishers and working radios.

Check the weather forecast before getting on the water for changing weather patterns.

Ski Safely:

A life jacket must be worn every time you operate a personal watercraft or jet ski.

No one may operate a jet ski on the water after sunset or before sunrise.

Every jet ski must be equipped with a self circling device or lanyard type engine cutoff switch. Check to make sure they are operational before getting on the water.

Never exceed the speed limit on a jet ski. In the state of Georgia, no one can operate a jet ski in excess of five miles per hour within 100 feet of any anchored vessel, shore, wharf, dock, pier, bridge or a person in the water.

You can tow a friend behind a jet ski ONLY if the ski is designed by the manufacturer to carry three or more people.

Use common sense on the water. Learn boating and jet ski right-of-way laws and obey them every time. Know your limits on the water and never stay longer than necessary. Just like driving a car, never operate a boat or jet ski when you’re exhausted. And never operate a watercraft under the influence of alcohol or any drugs.

Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest generators of electricity. The company is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility, serving customers in 57,000 of the state’s 59,000 square miles. Georgia Power’s rates are more than 15 percent below the national average and its 1.8 million customers are in all but six of Georgia’s 159 counties.