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

Local dealerships prepared to assist

Millions affected by airbag recall

 By Wes Mayer wesley@newnan.com This week, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that nearly 34 million vehicles in the Unite ... Read More


Memorial Day

Ceremony Monday in Newnan to focus on 1945

It was 1945. World War II was coming to an end. Music was celebratory. Across Coweta County, there were Victory Gardens and scrap piles. Peo ... Read More


Schools analyze Greentop’s potential impact

The Coweta County School System (CCSS) is unclear as to how it would be affected should the two annexation requests for subdivisions on Gree ... Read More


Man suspected of beating girlfriend arrested

A Newnan man suspected of beating his girlfriend over the weekend was arrested Wednesday and charged with aggravated battery. About 11:30 p. ... Read More


Northgate to graduate 407 tonight

The Coweta County School System will have its second graduation for the year tonight, when 407 students are set to receive diplomas at North ... Read More

Certificate of Need ordered for Newnan Behavioral Hospital

Superior Court Judge Emory Palmer has ordered the Georgia Department of Community Health to award a Certificate of Need to Vest Newnan, whic ... Read More