LAKE HARTWELL, S.C. (WSPA) – The official start of summer is approaching, which means more people will be out on the water.
Lake Hartwell is getting busier than ever.
“We’ve just seen an increase of boaters in this area. This year looks to be one of our busiest,” said Georgia Department of Natural Resources Officer Craig Fulghum.
Georgia DNR said they’re expecting a record number of boaters over the weekend.
“The more people we have the more problems we have,” Fulghum said.
As much as they want everyone to have fun, they want you to be safe.
In South Carolina, children 12 years and younger have to be wearing a life jacket at all times, and there has to be one life jacket for every person on board.
“I urge people to wear the life jacket and make sure its proper fit, U.S. Coast Guard approved.” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger Scott Lusk.
Although alcohol is allowed on Lake Hartwell, officials said it’s important to know it can also be dangerous.
“Heat has its effects of its own, but when you mix alcohol with heat, the alcohol is a lot more powerful, and it hits you a lot faster too,” Lusk explained. “You can become disoriented a lot quicker under the influence of alcohol and heat combined.”
DNR said about six to 10 drownings happen on the lake every year.
They encouraged everyone to look out for someone who might be in danger.
“A lot of people think drownings are like ‘help help, come over here, save me, I’m drowning’, but truth is they’re silent,” Lusk said.
SCDNR said they are holding courtesy boat checks at public boat landings across the state.
During those boat checks, SCDNR said they will be looking to see if you are up to date on safety regulations and registration requirements. You will not be ticketed if you aren’t.
To find the boat check nearest you, click here.