Georgia DNR law enforcement officers adjust to new rules


APPLING, Ga. (WJBF) – Memorial Day weekend is looking different because of COVID-19. Right now, officers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is enforcing a new set of rules.

At Lake Thurmond, Georgia DNR law enforcement is keeping a close watch on those who violate social distancing rules. 

“It’s a lot different. Normally this is our kick-off weekend for the summer but we’ve seen boats out for the last two months,” said Corporal Bobby Timmerman.

If you want to have fun, you got to play by the rules.

Cpl. Timmerman said, “It’s something we’re not used to doing but we’re out there making sure people are complying with the social distance.”

If you’re caught violating social distancing rules but agree to comply, DNR will likely let you off the hook and not give you a ticket.

But if you’re reckless, the consequences can be brutal. The DNR law enforcement division reports there have been more than 1,000 COVID-19 related violations. A violation of social distancing is a misdemeanor.

“Boats cannot be tied up. What we’ve seen a lot of is boats being tied up and people jumping boat to boat. And they have more than 10 on each boat. Luckily, the majority of people have complied once we talked to them about it,” explained Cpl. Timmerman.

While DNR officers have a new focus on social distancing, boating under the influence is not going to fly under the radar. 

“In Georgia, it’s legal to drink in a boat. You just have to be sober while you’re operating it.”

Georgia DNR law enforcement has two boats patrolling the waterways at all times. Usually with two officers on the boats.

As always, DNR encourages everyone to wear a life jacket if you’re on a boat or swimming in the lake. For more safety tips and how to get a boating license, click or tap here.

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