ATLANTA - Memorial Day weekend is the official start of summer boating season. This is the first summer under new legislation designed to help prevent boating deaths, but some say the new law leaves loopholes.
Less than a year after the death of her son, Kile Glover, Tameka Raymond sat down with Channel 2’s Jovita Moore. Raymond shared what was going through her mind the days following her son's tragic accident on Lake Lanier last July.
"That's when I found out about the Prince children, Jake and Griffin. It was two weeks prior to my son's accident," said Raymond.
Brothers, Jake and Griffin Prince, also lost their lives in a boating accident last summer.
"I need to know more, why did this happen? How this happened?" said Tameka Raymond.
It was in the hospital, sitting by her son's side, that she knew Georgia's laws had to be changed.
"I knew then, something has to be done. We are moms that are burying our children. How is this so? Children with such potential," said Raymond.
In April, Gov. Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 136. The new law lowers the state intoxication limit to .08, the same as drivers and requires people born in 1998, or later to take a mandatory safety education course prior to operating a vessel. It also requires anyone renting a boat to take the safety course.
"A lot of people renting are not familiar with the boating laws or how boats operate," said Adam Loudermilk a Department of Natural Resources conservation ranger.
Channel 2 Action News went along with the Department of Natural Resources as they patrolled Lake Lanier.
Loudermilk told Channel 2 Action News that he and his fellow rangers see a lot of boaters that just don't know the laws.
"We see a lot of accidents that's just basically a failure to yield the right of way. That's just another thing in the course. There are rules like traffic," said Loudermilk.
While out on the lake, Channel 2 saw one self-proclaimed lifelong boater who didn't know all of the laws. Under the laws, an experienced private boat owner like this would not be required to take the safety course.
"I'd like to think it will make the lake safer. Honestly, I don't know if it will result in less accidents," said Attorney W. Winston Briggs.
Briggs has worked on a number of cases involving boating and watercraft accidents. Most of those involve Jet Skis.
"You certainly see a lot of men and women driving around recklessly on Jet Skis and other personal watercraft, wave runners, things like that," said Briggs.
"It was just a senseless loss of life. It's different, he wasn't operating the watercraft, he was just enjoying, probably looking up at the sun and then he just gets hit by a wild motorist," said Raymond.
Raymond told Moore that this law is just the start. She and her attorney, Ashley Bell, are pushing for further legislation. Bell said the new law might not have prevented the death of Kile Glover.
"The person involved in this particular case took the class twice, but never took a test on the competency," said Bell.
The Department of Natural Resources says the new laws will make a larger portion of the population aware of the law, which only makes the lake safer in the long run.
In honor of her son, Raymond founded Kile's World Foundation to offer children access to music, art and acting education. Click here for more information.
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