Visiting the lake is a common activity for many Georgians in the summer time. Memorial Day weekend typically kicks off the leisure activity, but like any other fun venture, it's important that you know and follow a few safety tips to ensure an enjoyable experience.
Look Before You Leap
Often times, many lakes have rope swings and rocks to jump off of. It is also tempting to take a dive off of a boat, but if you are unfamiliar with the area that you are visiting, you should think before you jump. You never really know what's below you and taking a dive could put you at great risk of hitting a rock or other debris, resulting in a TBI or similar injury. You should also check the depth of where you are jumping before doing so. These days, many boats have gauges that can tell you the depth of where you are at. If you can't tell how deep the water is, it is always best to leave the diving for some place else.
Watch Where You Swim
Some people may not know that lakes are supposed to operate the same way as roads do. They have "travel lanes" if you will, and boats are supposed to take certain paths and remain on the right side as they are traveling. Therefore, it is important to watch where you swim. Never stop your boat to take a dip in the middle of the channel, but instead drive to a cove where you are more isolated. This reduces your risk of not being seen while swimming. Additionally, if you are swimming at a dock, don't swim right where boats are coming and going. Carbon monoxide fumes from the motor exhaust is extremely hazardous and can even be deadly.
Engage In Water Sports Safely
Aside from swimming and boating, being on the lake usually involves various water sports, such as tubing, water skiing, wake boarding, etc. If you plan to engage in these fun activities, make sure that you have the correct equipment to do so. All of these activities require life jackets and specific ropes. If you are renting a boat from a company, they typically will have all of the correct equipment available for you. If not, it is absolutely necessary that you buy the gear so that you are able to safely enjoy all of the water sports.
Boats Are Vehicles
Boating should not be treated any different than driving. In addition to driving the boat on the correct side of the lake, it's also important that you watch your speed, respect those around you, stay alert, and most importantly do not consume alcohol while you are driving a boat. Boating under the influence IS a thing and you can get cited for it, just as you would get charged with a DUI. Treat the boat as a vehicle to ensure that your time spent on the lake is time spent safely.
For more boating safety tips, read here.
Have a happy + safe Memorial Day weekend!