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VERIFY: Yes, it's required by Georgia law to wear lifejackets while tubing

Our sources are the State Department of Natural Resources Game Warden Lamar Burns, and the state's Handbook of Boating Laws and Responsibilities.

MACON, Ga. — A 31-year old Macon man died following a boating accident on Saturday. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says Tyler Raye Reynard Moss slipped off the tube he was being towed on. They say he wasn't wearing a life jacket. 

This is the second death on Lake Tobesofkee in the past month, and knowing when you are required by law to wear a lifejacket could save lives.

13WMAZ wanted to know if you're required by law to wear a lifejacket while tubing or water skiing. Jessica Cha verifies for us. 

Our sources are the State Department of Natural Resources Game Warden Lamar Burns, and the state's Handbook of Boating Laws and Responsibilities.

"If you're not wearing a lifejacket, these accidents can very well take place. That's why it's important that you obey the law and make sure you have a lifejacket on at all times,” Burns explains. 

Burns is the DNR Game Warden for Bibb County. He says people don't wear life jackets for a couple of reasons.

"Some people don't wear lifejackets simply because they don't know the law, and some people don't wear them because they feel they're uncomfortable, or they feel that they are a good swimmer,” Burns says. “No matter how good you can swim, no matter how long you've been swimming, or the experience you have-- a lifejacket is needed and a lifejacket will save lives.”.

He says accidents like Saturday's are always hard to see.

"It takes a toll on anybody, especially when it's something that could be prevented, so that's why we're actively trying to enforce the waterways and make sure what's going on when they're out here on the water and being safe,” Burns says. 

So, let's verify. Do you have to wear a lifejacket while tubing or skiing on the water? Burns says yes.

"The law states that anyone under the age of 13 has to have a lifejacket on at all times while the vessel is actually under motion. If you're skiing or tubing, or even using or a jet ski-- it's also required to have a life jacket on and fully fastened,” Burns explains. 

On page 62 of the DNR Handbook of Georgia Boating Laws and Responsibilities, the person being towed must wear a ski belt, jacket, or a type 1,2, or 3 personal flotation device that is properly fitted. 

So, based on these laws specifically for tubing and skiing, we can verify that you must wear a lifejacket by law when you're doing those activities. 

"Lifejackets are proven to save lives and if worn properly, they will do just that,” he says. 

Game Warden Burns says Tobesofkee has a station at their boat ramp in Claystone Park where lifejackets are free for the public to use. The sizes range from toddler to adult, so stay safe out there.

DNR says their critical incident response team is still investigating this drowning.

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