New business serves as safe alternative to drunken boaters

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

A new service on Lake Lanier could be the first of its kind anywhere. It's designed as a designated driver service on the water.

HALL COUNTY, Ga. - A new service on Lake Lanier could be the first of its kind anywhere. It's designed as a designated driver service on the water.

They are calling it the Lake Lanier BUI Buster and it just started operations last weekend.

Its creator told Channel 2's Tony Thomas it's inspired by the tragedies that occurred on the water last year.

Thomas caught up with couple John Haddad and Marilyn Haddad who out for a sunset cruise on their boat Thursday night on a relatively calm Lake Lanier.

The lake was very quiet, but John Haddad said it's a completely different situation on the weekends during the summer months.

"It's not for the faint of heart. I mean, there are so many boats out," Haddad said.

And with so many boats also comes a lot of people drinking, the target for Jeff Perfater's new company SAFENAV.

"SAFENAV is like a designated driver on the water," Perfater told Thomas.

For a fee, Perfater or one of his employees will head out in a small inflatable to anywhere on the lake, tie it up to your boat and get you and your boat to your home marina.

Perfater believes it's a first-of-its-kind service. He was inspired by last year's tragedy where two brothers were killed after authorities said their family boat was hit by a drunken boater.

"Our charge is far minimal to the charge of a BUI or someone getting hurt and a boat being destroyed," Perfater told Thomas.

SAFENAV just received all its approvals and began operations Memorial Day weekend.

The Haddads said they don't expect to use SAFENAV themselves but like the idea.

"It's good for young people especially so that they know they have a safety net," John Haddad said.

As for the cost, SAFENAV charges $125 a call. Perfater said he's not sure if it will succeed but he wants to give it a try, for if nothing else, to give a little back to the lake.