Game Wardens urge boat safety for the 4th of July weekend

LaGrange Bureau

LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – Game Wardens from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources are urging people to use caution on the water so they can stay safe this upcoming holiday weekend.

Game Wardens, Keith Waddell and Keith Page, work on West Point Lake to make sure all boats and operators are following the guidelines for safety. They said this upcoming weekend is one of the busiest on the water.

“One of the things that I always emphasize is operator attention. If you’re going to be the operator of the boat just make sure you know the rules of the road. On the waterways we have navigational rules of the road just like you do on the highways, make sure you know them and stay with them. That’s one of our leading causes of boat accidents is not knowing the rules of the road and not following them,” said Waddell.

Waddell emphasized the importance of being attentive when driving a boat. He said alcohol and phones can be major distractions that can cause accidents on the water.

“You know a couple drinks can ruin your life forever so we advise you stay away from alcohol if you’re going to be operating,” said Waddell.

Both Game Wardens discussed the importance of having life jackets on the boat. Adults are not required to wear life jackets on the boat. However, children under the age of 13 are required the wear them if the boat is in motion.

“One of the main things we’re looking for this weekend is to make sure that everybody that’s supposed to have a life jacket on, has it on. Then, that boat operators have enough life jackets on their boat for everybody on board,” said Page.

Page said he emphasizes to all boat users to be polite and courteous of others on the water so they can avoid accidents. He said many boat accidents are caused when people are not mindful and observant of their surroundings.

Similar to Waddell, he also emphasized avoiding alcohol when operating a vessel.

“We just want to make sure that the operator is sober because once the operator becomes intoxicated the ability to be mindful of his surroundings just decreases and it’s almost a recipe for a sure disaster,” said Page.

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