Boat safety

Georgia Department of Natural Resources game wardens will be patrolling the waterways to make sure everyone has a safe holiday.

While Northwest Georgians enjoy the long Independence Day weekend holiday, Georgia Department of Natural Resources game wardens will be patrolling the waterways to make sure everyone has a safe holiday.

Dubbed Operation Dry Water, the enforcement effort will be focused on violators of the boating under the influence laws. The campaign will extend all the way through Sunday. Recreational boaters, paddlers and floaters will see stepped up activity in warden patrols on the waterways.

“We’re going to be on the water trying to detect any kind of impairment for operating vessels,” Warden Ben Cunningham said.

Cunningham said the rivers that flow through Rome always see more of fishing, tubing and kayaking than motorized recreational boating, though the lower Coosa River does typically get some activity from boaters who come upstream from Weiss Lake, or put in at Brushy Branch.

The warden said he expected to have just as many people out on the water through the weekend as were on duty on Independence Day itself.

The Rome area generally does not see as many Boating Under the Influence arrests as the wardens who patrol the big reservoirs like Weiss or Allatoona.

“We get a couple every year,” Cunningham said.

“Every year, we see boating accidents and tragedies that could have been avoided, had alcohol or drug use not been a factor,” said Col. Thomas Barnard, head of the Georgia DNR Law Enforcement division in a press release.

In Georgia, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 or higher — the same as it is to operate a vehicle on the roads.

To get additional information about the enforcement effort, visit operationdrywater.org or gadnrle.org for more information about boating under the influence.