Lake Lanier officials urging safety as lake starts to get busy - CBS46 News

Lake Lanier officials urging safety as lake starts to get busy

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If you are planning to head to Lake Lanier this summer, there are a few changes to the law that could affect your plans.

Saturday the Lake Lanier Association hosted an event to kick off National Safe Boating Week and a big part of it was educating people on the changes.

Sunset Cove is one of Lake Lanier's hot spots which made it the perfect place to set the event up. With people hitting the water for the first time this season, the timing was just right.

"People are actually thinking about it and coming here by boat. So it hits real close to home today," said Joanna Cloud with the Lake Lanier Association.

The biggest change was lowering the blood alcohol content for boat drivers from .1 to .08; the same level for drivers on land.

"From .08 to .1 is a big jump in the level of impairment so it will be really nice to have that law consistent with what we have on the highway," said Jason Roberson with the Department of Natural Resources.

The other big change has to do with life jackets. Under the old law, kids up to age 10 had to wear them but now it's up to age 13.

Gabriela Panasiuk, with West Marine, was part of the event to talk about equipment, specifically life vests.

"Even at the age of 13 you really aren't a fantastic swimmer. You don't have lung capacity to hold breath for a very long time. You don't really have the strength to swim to shore if you needed to," said Panasiuk.

Tyler Young brought his family out to make sure they're ready for the year, particularly his young daughters.

"They've been on the lake their whole life, but there are still new things that they learn," said Young.

But it's not all about the new stuff.

Volunteers said it's also a refresher for everything from wearing sunscreen and taking care of your boat, to something as simple as not getting too close to people in the water while driving.

"We're reminding people of the 100 foot rule. It seems simple, but you would be surprised how many people violate it. If people would just stay a hundred feet away from stationary objects and people in the water it would solve a lot of problems here," said Cloud.

By pushing the message of safety before things really get busy out on the lake, the hope is to avoid tragedies like we saw last year.

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