Senate passes drunk-boating bill

By WALTER C. JONES
Morris News Service
ATLANTA – Increased traffic on Lake Lanier outside Atlanta prompted the Senate to unanimously pass tougher boating laws for the whole state Friday.
Boaters on Lake Oconee, Thurmond Lake, West Point Lake, the Savannah River and even the Saint Simons Sound will have to observe stricter alcohol limits, training requirements and life-jacket rules.
Senate Bill 136 came from the newly formed Lake Lanier legislative caucus which met in December with users of that lake who requested the legislation.
“I know that Senate Bill 136 is a statewide bill, but in particular Lake Lanier, because of the urbanization of the area and the encroachment in direct relationship with Atlanta, we have an over population, especially on holidays,” said Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford. “Unfortunately, we’ve had several instances of boating accidents and boating drownings.”
The bill is formally named for three child victims in those accidents. Kile Glover and Jake and Griffin Prince.
It would place age limits on those who can drive boats and requires boaters born after 1997 to take free, online training or submit to a briefing even to rent a vessel.

Because half of boating fatalities involve drinking, the bill would drop the legal blood-alcohol from .10 to 0.8 to match the level for driving an automobile drunk. For consistency, the bill also lowers the level for illegal hunting while drunk.

The sponsors of the bill, working with Gov. Nathan Deal, also expanded the age for mandatory life jackets on a moving boat from 10 to 13.

After the Senate vote, BoatUS announced it is seeking additional sites to offer its children’s life jackets as free loans.

“With a life-jacket-loaner site in your area, boating parents can borrow a properly fitting life jacket for the day or weekend at no cost,” association officials said. “If you operate a waterfront business, organization or government agency, you can help by applying to become a new loaner site for the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety & Clean Water’s Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids.”



More Local

Hundreds attend vigil for homicide victims

Hundreds of friends, neighbors, and family members gathered for a candlelight vigil honoring the memory of Allen Cantrell and Wes Watson, vi ... Read More


150 more to be tested

Newnan High student believed to have TB

A Newnan High School student may have tuberculosis, as a suspected case of the illness was confirmed Wednesday by District 4 Public Health. ... Read More


Rape Trial Continues

Sleep expert, wife testify

Sleep disorders – and whether a person can engage in sexual activity while sleepwalking – were the focus of testimony Wednesday ... Read More


Vigil raises awareness of domestic violence

On Tuesday, the second annual domestic candlelight vigil was held outside the historic courthouse in downtown Newnan. With more than 50 peop ... Read More


Bridge work to close lanes on I-85 North

One outside lane on Interstate 85 northbound at Posey Road has been closed for rehab work on the bridge across the Transco natural gas pipel ... Read More

With restrictions, Jackson Street open

Traffic was being rerouted on Jackson Street around the University of West Georgia project in downtown Newnan earlier this week, but is now ... Read More