Georgia State Patrol, DNR prep for busy holiday weekend
In an effort to ensure the safety of travelers and boaters this Memorial Day Weekend, local and state law enforcement agencies are enhancing their patrols.
CORDELE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – In an effort to ensure the safety of travelers and boaters this Memorial Day Weekend, local and state law enforcement agencies are enhancing their patrols.
Both the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources say this holiday weekend is one of their busiest enforcement periods.
“It’s certainly one of our busiest holiday patrols, because it is the beginning of summer travel,” Colonel Chris Wright with Georgia State Patrol said. “The weather is warming up, (and) we see a lot of people planning their summer vacations.”
The unofficial kickoff to summer brings more people onto the roads, but it also leads to an increase in water activity. Colonel Thomas Barnard with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources says DNR investigated 23 boating fatalities and responded to 57 drownings last year.
He encourages everyone to wear a life jacket while on a boat, ensuring it fits correctly in case of falling overboard. Alcohol should also be avoided while boating, and if drinking is planned, a designated driver should be appointed.
“There are all kinds of distractions, whether it be cellphones or pulling skiers or other boats, there are not lines out here like there is on the highway,” Col. Barnard said. “So when you have that little bit of confusion going on a waterway, it’s vitally important to have someone that is not impaired.”
He also stressed the importance of understanding personal limits and not swimming alone.
“We encourage you to be out with someone and to make sure that you’re in an area that’s designated as a swimming area too,” he said. “You don’t always know what’s under the water.”
DNR says it will have 75% of its workforce on the water this summer to ensure everyone stays safe during their travel and boating activities.