Safety Guidelines for Outdoor Water Activities - It is important to follow these simple and crucial guidelines if you are going to be near the water.
Play and Stay in GA!
Swimming Safety Tips
Learn how to swim.
Swim in designated swim areas.
Never swim alone in unsupervised areas.
Watch children closely at all times.
Don't dive or jump into unfamiliar water. Shallow water or submerged trees or rocks could
cause injury or even paralysis.
Don't stay in the water too long, especially when the water is cold.
Water-Skiing Safety Tips
Water-skiing is permitted from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset.
All vessels towing skiers must have either a mirror with a 78 sq. inch viewing area or a
competent observer at least 12 years old.
In order to tow a skier, a personal water craft must have two mirrors with a viewing area of 10
square inches each, not mounted on the steering mechanism.
Boating Safety Tips
Wear a life jacket.
Check your boat for all required safety equipment.
Take a safe boating course.
Check the weather forecast.
File a float plan with a friend.
Check your electrical and fuel system for gas fumes.
Follow manufacturer's suggested procedures before starting up.
Carry a navigation chart.
Follow the navigation rules of the road.
The minimum age to operate a vessel or personal watercraft in Georgia without adult
supervision is 16 years old.
Persons operating a vessel or personal watercraft must carry an operator's license.
Each person is required to have a Personal Floating Device (PFD).
All children under eight (8) years old must wear a PFD.
PFDs must be worn when within 800 feet below a hydroelectric dam and/or navigational lock
Any person riding a personal watercraft must wear a PFD.
Some vessels must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved, BC type fire extinguisher.
Vessels must be equipped with navigation lights when operated between the hours of sunset
and sunrise and during periods of limited visibility.
Rules of the Road
Overtaking/Passing: A vessel overtaking another vessel may pass on either side, but the
vessel being overtaken (passed) has the right-of-way. Meeting Head On: When meeting another vessel head on, each vessel should keep to the
right. Crossing: Boat on right has the right-of-way. Slow down and permit it to pass.
All motorized vessels, sailboats and rental boats must be currently registered.
All vessels must stay 100 feet away from a "Divers Down" flag.
When operating in a narrow channel, all vessels will keep to the right of mid-channel.
Obey all restrictive signs and buoys.
Operate at an idle speed around gas docks and loading docks.
Operators are responsible for any damage caused by their wake.
All accidents involving death, serious injury, or a disappearance from a PWC or boat must be
reported to the proper authorities within 48 hours.
The Chattahoochee River just below Buford Dam is one of the most popular trout fishing spots in the State. However, the Corps of Engineers cautions visitors to use extreme care when fishing below the Dam. The Chattahoochee can change quickly from a serene slow moving stream to a swift and treacherous river when water is released at Buford Dam. During water release the river can rise up to 11 feet within a matter of minutes. Several safety precautions are in effect for the 3 miles of river between Buford Dam and the GA Highway 20 bridge.
Wear a life jacket. This is mandatory for all persons wading, boating or tubes floating on this
section of the river.
Exit the river immediately when the warning horns sound which indicate water is being
released at the dam. (South of the Ga. Highway 20 bridge, river users cannot hear the
Listen to radio station 1610 AM for river safety messages and water release schedules.
Pay attention to warning signs posted along the riverbanks.
Plan trips in advance by calling 770-945-1466 for water release schedules.
Fishermen should also be aware of the effects of hypothermia. Water released at the dam
average 44 to 58 degrees year-round. When exposed to these temperatures, exhaustion or
unconsciousness can occur in 30 to 60 minutes. Wearing rubber waders is strongly