MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources is warning people about safety on the water after the fifth death this year on Lake Sinclair. Christopher Lovin, 55, died Wednesday night in a jet ski accident near the lake’s Twin Bridges area.
Business owners around the lake say it’s unusual to see so many tragic accidents in so few months.
“Just because you’re on a boat on the water doesn’t mean that accidents can’t happen,” said Will Pope.
Pope owns Twin Lakes Watercraft Repairs and has lived on the lake his whole life. This morning he found out about the accident that killed Lovin.
“I hate that it happened. Freak accidents happen quite often, you know, everywhere. It's sad and I feel for the family,” said Pope.
He says the lake is already very busy and with warmer weather approaching, there will be a lot to watch out for.
"There's a lot more waves and wake on the lake due to more boats being on the water, and that right there can cause it to be dangerous as well,” said Pope.
Desirae Franklin and Christie Hardy are both cashiers at Twin Bridges Landing. They say many people who visit the lake are from out of town and they may not know lake etiquette.
"You got to be careful, watch out for people around you, respect the water, respect other boaters. Pay attention to what's going on, follow the rules, the laws,” they said.
State game warden Bubba Stanford says the deaths are a warning.
“Anytime this happens, it is alarming. It's also a wake-up call to the people to understand the dangers that are out here on this lake,” said Stanford.
He says people should educate themselves on the rules of the lake and ALWAYS wear a life jacket.
“Know what areas are shallow, what areas may have timber or rocks. Know where the nearest marina is… just learn the lake,” he said.
Georgia DNR is investigating Lovin’s accident, but witnesses say he was riding a jet ski at a high speed when he hit a wave and was thrown off.
Stanford says the best way to stay safe is to pay attention and follow the rules of the lake.