By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia
Officials said this week that the new boating under the influence law in Georgia appears to be making a difference already.
According to the state’s Department of Natural Resources, the Memorial Day holiday weekend saw relatively few incidents on Lake Hartwell.
Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Officer Craig Fulgum said that only one person was cited for boating under the influence on Lake Hartwell during the entire holiday weekend.
“The only incident we had was a boating under the influence case that we made Saturday night after dark,” said Fulgum.
Fulgum said other than that one incident; it was a quiet weekend with no other accidents or incidents to report.
He said he believes one reason for that was that people got the message about the tougher BUI laws that went into effect earlier this month.
“There were very few complaints as a general rule throughout the lake, so it was a pretty good weekend for Memorial Day,” said Fulgum. “It seemed like a lot of people listened to the media regarding the new BUI laws.”
In addition to the new BUI laws, Fulgum believed having Hartwell Lake at full pool also helped.
“In years past, we have had a lake that was down considerably,” said Fulgum. “What I have seen in my career is when the lake is full, you have more service area which means less conflict. You have more room for people to boat in.”
Fulgum said he expects Lake Hartwell to be filled with visitors each weekend throughout the summer because of the full pool.
He said this past weekend, he checked visitors from as far away as Virginia who came to vacation on Lake Hartwell.