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Your complete online news, information, and recreation guide to Lake Lanier
Aug. 20, 2014
2:49 am
Humidity: 84
W at 7mph

Safety Guide

A guide to boating and swimming safety resources presented by Lakeside on Lanier


Boater Education Courses with Certification Exam
  • Course: NASBLA certified entry level classroom-only course with test for boater education and PWC certification. Covers basic boating terminology, navigation, operation, legal requirements, emergencies, water etiquette and more.
  • Instructors: U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers
  • Minimum age: 12, students 12-15 receive PWC certification
  • When: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (Bring sack lunch) Aug. 16, Sept. 13, Oct. 11
  • Where: U.S. Coast Guard Flotilla 29, 6595 Lights Ferry Rd., Flowery Branch
  • Cost: Individuals $35, family discount  2 or more members $25 each
  • Private lessons also available for groups or organizations outside normal schedule. Contact Pat Lindsay, 770-271-4059.
  • Information/registration:, (770) 217-4059. Pre-registration required. Send email to

Basics of Boating - America's Boating Course
  • Course: NASBLA certified basic boater safety program NASBLA certified basic boater safety program covering boat handing, safety equipment & procedures, navigation, boat types & terminology with exam for certification.
  • Instructors: Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron
  • When: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. August 16, November 8
  • Where: Lake Lanier U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Management Office, 1050 Buford Dam Rd., Buford.
  • Cost: $35, families may share book. Add’l family members sharing book, $15 each
  • Information/registration:;

On-Line Courses

Boater Education Courses without Certification Exam
  • Professional Tutoring: On-line or in person tutoring designed to prepare individuals for exams required for certification and licensure for maritime jobs by instructor Steve Johnson, retired US Coast Guard, experienced ship navigator, deck officer, and USCG license instructor for Sea School.,,  (770) 312-0989.
  • Advanced Boating classes in piloting, marine communications, and other boating skills offered periodically by the Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron. Information:

Vessel Safety Checks

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary certified Vessel Examiners perform safety inspections on recreational boats, personal watercraft and paddle sport vessels. Free.
When/Where: All inspections 9 a.m.-noon unless otherwise noted: Aug. 2 Tidwell Park (Gwinnett), Aug. 5 6 p.m. Bass Pro shop (Gwinnett); Sept. 5 State Patrol Post (Cumming), Sept. 13, Charleston Park (Forsyth), Sept. 14 Old Federal Park (Hall); October 2 10 a.m. Bass Pro Shop (Gwinnett); November 3 10 a.m. State Patrol Post        
Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron offers vessel safety check-ups by appointment.  

Boaters born after Jan. 1, 1998 must take Boater Ed class

The boater education law passed last year by the Georgia General Assembly requires that beginning July 1, 2014,  any person born after Jan. 1, 1998 must complete a boater education course approved by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources before he or she may legally operate a motorized vessel (this includes personal water craft) on Georgia state waters. A person is exempt from the mandatory education requirement if he or she is licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as a master of a vessel or operates on a private lake or pond or is a non-resident with proof that he or she has completed a nationally approved boater education course or equivalency exam in another state. Persons younger than 12 may not legally operate a personal water craft. Youngsters age 12 to 15 may legally operate a PWC only if the have passed a DNR-approved boating safety class or are accompanied by a competent adult (age 18 or older who is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs and who is carrying proper identification such as a driver's license or government issued identification with a description of the person, photograph and date of birth). 


Swim Lessons/ Aquatics Programs

Frances Meadows Aquatics and Community Center

  • Location: 1545 Community Way, Gainesville.
  • Information/registration: (770) 533-5850,
  • Lessons/Cost: Swimming and water safety program for all ages and levels, age 6 months to masters, basic aquatics safety to skill proficiency for competitive swimmers.  Four 30-minute group lessons available at various times/dates through Aug. 8. City resident $45, non-resident $60. Lifeguard training available.
  • Splash Aquatic Club:  Competitive swimming groups for Rookie (age 4) through Masters (age 18 and older to improve fitness, develop better technique, or train for competition. Gainesville/Hall residents $30-$60, non residents $40-$80.

Cumming Aquatic Center
  • Location: 201 Aquatic Circle, Cumming
  • Information/registration: (770) 781-1781 (register online)
  • Lessons/cost:Swimming and water safety program ranges from toddler-age in Parent Child Aquatics Program to teens and adults in Learn to Swim and Adult Aquatics Program. Private or semi-private lessons available. Fees and schedules vary. Competitive swimming and diving programs, Masters Swim Team also available. Lifeguard certification offered.

Brenau University
  • Location: Brenau Fitness Center, 500 Washington St., SE, Gainesville
  • Information/registration:, Blaire Bachman,
  • (770) 534-6279,
  • Lessons/Cost: Custom private swim lessons for all ages and abilities. Four 30-min. lessons $100; advanced level-four 1-hr. lessons $150. Brenau Masters Swim Team offers practice and competitive program for swimmers of all levels, high school age and older. $60/month.

University of North Georgia Gainesville Campus

Georgia Mountain YMCA

NOTE: Please contact Lakeside on Lanier News to list additional boating and water safety classes.

Prevent Drowning: Practice Water Safety, “Reach or Throw, Don’t Go”
By mid-summer, seven people had drowned on Lake Lanier in 2014, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The total thus far was more than half the number of drownings reported during 1999, which claimed the greatest number of drowning victims on record for Lake Lanier, 11. Ten drowned in 2011.

The Georgia DNR and American Red Cross offer the following water safety tips to help avoid becoming a victim and how to help if you witness a swimmer in trouble:
  • Practice water safety
  • Take swimming lessons, learn to swim.
  • If you are a marginal or non-swimmer, wear a properly fitted Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • Know your swimming limits and stay within them.
  • Beware that “too much”, too much strenuous activity, sun or distance from safety, can lead to “too late.”

How to Recognize an Emergency
  • Many emergencies can happen quickly and silently.  A distressed swimmer or drowning victim needs help immediately!
  • A swimmer in distress may still try to swim but makes little or no forward progress. If not helped, a swimmer in distress will soon become a drowning victim.
  • An active drowning victim may be vertical in the water but unable to move forward or tread water. An active drowning victim may try to press down with the arms at the side in an instinctive attempt to keep the head above the water.
  • A passive drowning victim is motionless and floating face down on the bottom or near the surface of the water.
  • Do not assume that a swimmer in distress is joking or playing around.

Know how to respond to an aquatic emergency
  • If someone is missing, check the water first.
  • Reach or throw, don’t go. Ring buoys or reaching poles, or even a water jug tied to a rope, broom, sturdy fishing pole or stick can help pull a potential victim to safety.
  • Know how and when to call 911 or the local emergency number.
  • Enroll in Red Cross water safety, first aid and CPR courses to learn what to do.

Have the right equipment
  • Have reaching and throwing equipment on hand.
  • Whenever boating or near water, even if you don’t expect to go in, always have U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets available. Life jackets should be the proper size for each individual and in good condition.
  • Have cell phones or portable phones nearby to help ensure that you can quickly call 911 in the event of an emergency.
  • Have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand. Ensure that you know how to use the equipment and that expiration dates have not passed.

Note: Georgia law requires that all children younger than 13 wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (life jacket) while on board any moving vessel, except when the child is in a fully enclosed cabin. All vessels must have at least one USCG-approved Type I, II, II or V life PRD for each person on board. Type V PFDs are only acceptable when worn and securely fastened. Personal water craft operators and riders must wear an approved PFD that is properly fitted and fastened. Inflatable PFDs are not approved for use on PWCs. See the Georgia Department of Natural Resources “Handbook of Georgia Boating Laws and Responsibilities” for more information on PFDs.

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