Today's lake level: 1071.32
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Aug. 6, 2020
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Safe boating is no accident

By Pamela A. Keene
 
Even when the water levels at Lake Lanier are close to full summer pool, things can happen. This cruiser, in trying to avoid a pontoon boat, ran aground in Big Creek in July. It took several hours to remove the boat, according to witnesses. 
 
“As this boater discovered, knowing what the navigation markers on the lake means is critical to safe boating. And because the traffic on the lake has increased this year, it’s more important than ever for people to know the Rules of the Road and practice safe boating,” said Dave Fuller, commander of America’s Boating Club Atlanta, which teaches Basic Boating Safety classes at Lake Lanier and Allatoona Lake. “Taking a class has many benefits – it can refresh even the most experienced boaters about rules and it can save boaters money on their boat insurance.”
 
Many groups around the lake support safe boating. The Lake Lanier Association has conducted a campaign for the past two years about the “100-foot rule.” According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the law states that boat operators must slow to idle speed when they are within 100 feet of docks, piers, bridges, shorelines, people in the water or other boats.
 
According to the DNR law enforcement website, “People who operate boats and personal watercraft at dangerously high speeds, and zip into and out of coves and along shorelines where other vessels are anchored or where people are in the water are not only putting themselves and others at risk for serious accidents, but they also are breaking the law,” said Lt. Col. Johnny Johnson, assistant director of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. 
 
Other “rules of the road” for boat operation posted on the DNR website include: 
 
• When meeting another vessel, boat operators should pass on the right side (just like in a car) unless the boats are far enough apart that they are not meeting head on or close to head on.
 
• On narrow rivers and streams, stay as far right as possible and be careful when rounding bends and curves and overtaking or passing other boats.
 
• In a crossing situation, the boat on the right should hold its course and the boat on the left should slow down and cross behind the other boat. 
 
• Powerboats always should yield to sailboats under sail.
 
America’s Boating Club Atlanta’s 8-hour course includes the meaning of markers on waterways, the Rules of the Road, trailering a boat, docking, boat handling, types of boats, boating terminology and safety equipment and procedures. The class curriculum is approved by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR) and by the National Association of the State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).
 
“Even if you are a seasoned boater, you will most likely learn something new,” Fuller said. “We’ve had people with their USCG Captain’s License tell us that the day was worthwhile and they were reminded of things they had forgotten. Whether it’s knowing what the markers around the lake mean or brushing up on who has right of way, investing $30 and one Saturday can make a real difference in your boating confidence and safety. Plus when you present your proof of passing the class, you will save some money on your boat insurance. In many cases, insurance companies will discount your insurance for more than the cost of the class.” 
 
The next class will be held on Saturday, August 22, at University Yacht Club, 6700 Yacht Club road, Flowery Branch. Registration is open at atlantasboatingclub.com.

Posted online 7.30.20
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