Harris County, Ga. (WTVM) - Spending the Fourth of July on the water is a popular activity for many across the Chattahoochee Valley. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources expects boating traffic to be higher than normal beginning these weekend through next weekend surrounding July 4th.
With more boats out on the water, the water tends to become choppier so DNR officials remind boaters to be mindful of other boaters and make sure to watch their speed.
“If you haven’t taken a Boater Education Course it’s a good idea. Also, anybody that’s born after January 1, 1998 is required to be able to operate a vessel, but always keep in mind that everybody out on the water hasn’t taken the boater education course and may not know the rules of the road," said Georgia DNR Game Warden Dean Gibson.
Gibson said alcohol is one of DNR’s major concerns.
“We always want everybody to have a good time out on the water, but as a passenger, pay attention to what the operator of the vessel is drinking. If they’ve had a couple drinks, it might be time for someone who is not drinking to operate the boat," Gibson said.
Gibson also recommends that everyone on board watches out for other boats especially with the crowd the fireworks show brings to Lake Harding.
“You’re going to have a lot of vessels on the water so the speed that you operate the boat is going to be of concern. Just have everybody that’s on board watching for other vessels so that you don’t end up colliding with one and the boat ramps, the public boat ramps, will probably be a little bit backed up as people are putting on or taking off of the water,” Gibson explained.
Gibson said people can get fatigued being out on the water all day long.
“They might normally be a good swimmer and they take off their life vest, they jump in the water. It’s always a good to keep on your life vest and to hydrate throughout the day so that the fatigue doesn’t set in after you’ve spent all of those hours out in the sun and on the water," he said.
Gibson expects the waters to be crowded this weekend and next weekend instead of just one weekend surrounding a holiday due to the Fourth of July being towards the end of the week this year.