COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - With the warmer weather finally here that means that the $35 billion boating industry is at its peak season.
Great news for the people at Lake Harding Marina. In February, they opened their new restaurant, Over Board, adding another destination to the marina, right on the banks of Lake Harding.
"It was slow during the winter quite frankly. But when the weather broke in the spring and it turned pretty and warm people came out of the wood work and it has been very encouraging," said owner of the marina Steve Kennedy.
Kennedy has only been in business on Lake Harding for nearly a year, but has been heavily involved in the boating industry around the southeastern parts of the United States.
Being so heavily involved with the boating industry Kennedy knows how to do it safely.
"Safety is very important as a marina operator because as a marina operator because in theory if people aren't safe they get discouraged," Kennedy said. "And there are families involved and people are always looking out for their families. So boating safety is first and foremost for us."
According to Kennedy, if you are stopped by a law enforcement official there are three things that you must have on your boat at all times, life jackets for every passenger on board, a throw cushion and a working fire extinguisher.
Another thing that officers will immediately check is to ensure the person operating the boat is doing so responsible without consuming any alcohol.
"It is important for us to make sure the people are out here having a good time but doing so responsibly," said Kennedy.
Another bit of safety that comes into play on Lake Harding has to do with water sports. Many on the lake like to try out sports like wake boarding, water skiing and tubing, those come with an entirely new list of boating safety tips.
"I always tell folks to give priority to somebody that is actually behind a boat," Kennedy said. "Weather they are on a ski or a wake board or even a tube. A lot of young kids like to ride the tubes, but if they fall off the tube and you are following to close you are in a dangerous position "
For more boating safety tips check out some of the links below: