Safety officials team up to combat Memorial Day weekend disaster - FOX Carolina 21

Safety officials team up to combat Memorial Day weekend disasters

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Waterways can be treacherous, especially on Memorial Day weekend (FOX Carolina) Waterways can be treacherous, especially on Memorial Day weekend (FOX Carolina)
Georgia DNR, SCHP and the Georgia Office of Highway Safety are teaming up to keep people safe on water and land (FOX Carolina) Georgia DNR, SCHP and the Georgia Office of Highway Safety are teaming up to keep people safe on water and land (FOX Carolina)
HARTWELL, GA (FOX Carolina) -

Memorial Day weekend is the busiest time of the year for David Strickland, owner of Captain Dave's Boating World in Anderson.  "Memorial Day has kind of taken the 4th of July's place as far as being busy," said Strickland. 

Many of his boats and jet skis for sale will hit the water this memorial day weekend. 

The holiday weekend is expected to be extremely busy for Lake Hartwell, which sees about ten million visitors a year. While most can expect a beautiful weekend, park ranger Scott Lusk reminded that in 2015, a total of four people drowned at the lake. 

"A lot of these drownings could have been prevented if everybody would have been wearing a life jacket," said Lusk. "It only takes an adult an average of one minute to drown; it takes a child an average of 20 seconds to drown."

This weekend Georgia's Department of Natural Resources will be out in full force along with park rangers to make sure people stay safe on the waterways. 
The Get Together for Summer initiative also involves Georgia and South Carolina state troopers, who will make sure the highways also remain safe. 

"They will be writing tickets, they will be looking for drunks, they will be looking for people who don't have their seatbelt on, they will be looking for people who are texting and driving," said Harris Blackwood, director of the Georgia Office of Highway Safety. 

Drinking while operating a boat, of course, will not be tolerated. 

In 2013, South Carolina saw a near record 28 boating fatalities. 2014 on North Carolina waterways brought 23 deaths, and in Georgia last year, there were 22. 

Dave Strickland says he always reminds his customers of important boating safety tips before they hit the water. 

"Everybody's required to have one throwable [flotation] device," he said. "That's the law. 

"If you meet a boat coming your way, always go to the right. Go ahead and make an early yield," he added. "Be very considerate of the other boaters on the water."

Life jackets will be available at many day use parks upon request. 

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