Georgia law enforcement agencies are joining forces with the state Department of Natural Resources in an effort to crack down on drunken boating on the Atlanta area's Lake Lanier, where two boys were recently killed in an alleged drunk boating hit-and-run accident.
The Boating Safety Initiative will combine resources from Gwinnet County Police Department and the Georgia DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division to deal with the problem of boating under the influence on Lake Lanier, according to information on the Lake Lanier website.
The push comes after a pontoon was hit last month by a boat operated by a man charged with operating under the influence, killing 9- and 13-year-old brothers.
Another case on Lake Lanier in April left one dead and another seriously injured. As a result of that accident, Georgia DNR charged Steven Brent Parker, 32, with homicide by vessel, serious injury by vessel — both felonies — BUI and reckless operation of a vessel.
Conviction on both felony counts carries maximum sentences of up to 20 years in prison. According to a DNR release, Parker was operating a ski boat that collided with a pontoon before midnight April 21.
“With limited budgets and personnel numbers, our two agencies have created an innovative way to increase the number of patrol boats and law enforcement officers on Lake Lanier,” said Col. Eddie Henderson of the Georgia DNR. “Police officers will be paired with rangers in DNR patrol boats. This will allow us to put more boats on the water year-round for high-traffic weekends, holidays and special events.”