Officials urging boating safety on Memorial Day weekend - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Officials urging boating safety on Memorial Day weekend

(Source: Governor's Office of Highway Safety/Twitter) (Source: Governor's Office of Highway Safety/Twitter)
(Source: Matt Clegg/WTVM) (Source: Matt Clegg/WTVM)
Georgia Highway Traffic Deaths Yearly Total as of May 24th, 2017. (Source: Georgia Department of Transportation) Georgia Highway Traffic Deaths Yearly Total as of May 24th, 2017. (Source: Georgia Department of Transportation)

WEST POINT LAKE, GA (WTVM) – Georgia law enforcement agencies held a press conference at West Point Lake on boating safety.

Georgia State Patrol and Georgia Department of Natural Resources are stepping up enforcement during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Many area lakes will be crowded as Memorial Day is the beginning of the summer travel season in Georgia with more people out on the water.

Law enforcement officials are asking Georgians to play it safe when boating.

“The law requires all children under the age of 13 to wear their life jacket. We would really like to see all occupants in the boat wear life jackets. Also, alcohol and boating don’t mix. If you are going to have some alcohol wait till you get back to the dock or your house,” said Corporal Jeremy Bolan with the GA Dept. of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division saw a rise in the number of drownings and boating incidents last year.

Bolen said accidents can happen anytime and if you're intoxicated the chances increase.

“You just never know where we may be and the response time could take maybe several minutes before we get there,” said Bolen.

The 44 drowning deaths in 2016 was five more than the previous year and 19 people were killed in 116 boating incidents statewide in 2015.

A total of 12 people died on the roads during the 2016 Memorial Day travel period.

This year's travel period starts Friday at 6 p.m. and goes through midnight Monday.

Copyright 2017 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here

Powered by Frankly