Deal: State is serious about boating safety

Gov. Nathan Deal said the state’s stricter laws to punish boating while under the influence of alcohol should save lives.

Wednesday was the first day Georgia began charging boaters for operating with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher. Boaters had been able to operate legally below .10. Now boaters must abide by the same standard as drivers.

Deal marked the day by making an appearance at Lake Lanier in Gwinnett County, the premier boating destination for metro Atlanta.

“Our waterways are a great recreational resource for Georgia families, and the state took a serious step this year to keep people safe while having fun on our lakes and rivers,” Deal said. “Someone who’s had too much to drink has no business operating a boat.”

Deal and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams ended a two-day tour of seven popular boating destinations in Georgia called “.08: Where the Rudder Meets the Road.” The tour is intended to raise awareness about the new law.

Last year, five people died on were injured on Georgia waterways in alcohol-related accidents.