Georgia DNR wants you to boat safe and sober this summer

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Mandating personal floatation devices, implementing a 'no wake' zone and reducing the boating under the influence limit are the top safety tips from Georgia's DNR and boaters in the Fountain City say the changes are evident as they hit the water.

Boater, Rickey Grantham says "they can get you for not having life jackets, having boats overloaded with people in it. They get them for going through the 'no wake' zone making wakes."

From not sipping and sailing to snap-on life vest safety, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources urges water enthusiasts to tread lightly when trying to stay cool with rules like these. Rickey Grantham has been fishing at the Lake Oliver Marina for nearly 50 years and says authorities work hard to enforce the new legislation.

To ensure safety here at the Lake Oliver Marina, folks out here tell me that the Game Warden often sits out here on the banks with binoculars to make sure that people are following all safety measures and issues citations accordingly.

"They go out there and check your boat, make sure you've got all the equipment you need in your boat, ask if you've been drinking, they look in your coolers and this that and the other. They'll give you a breathalyzer or whatever and they'll take you to jail," Grantham adds.

A blood alcohol concentration of.08 or higher land you a maximum fine of one thousand dollars or up to one year in jail. Each vessel has a tag that points out the weight or person limit. And boats and jet skis are also mandated to have kill switches.

Jet ski rebel John Black jokes "they just call me trouble on the lake."

Black says, although he's notorious for breaking the rules, he knows first-hand that following ones like wearing the kill switch can save your life.

"A friend of mine had to run mine down last year because I flipped it three times," Black adds.

The Department of Natural Resources released this video urging boat safe and sober to avoid potentially dangerous water accidents.

If you're heading down to the water this weekend or any other and would like additional information on safety tips and laws, head to

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