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BUI stats 'pretty typical' over holiday weekend

Staff Photo: John Bohn Boaters gather on Sunset Cove at Lake Lanier Islands Resort on Saturday, the first day of the three-day Memorial Day weekend. A high turnout was reported at the Sunset Cove area of Lake Lanier.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Boaters gather on Sunset Cove at Lake Lanier Islands Resort on Saturday, the first day of the three-day Memorial Day weekend. A high turnout was reported at the Sunset Cove area of Lake Lanier.

BUFORD -- With new, stricter laws in full force, Memorial Day weekend saw 12 arrests for boating under the influence on Lake Lanier -- a number more or less average for a summer holiday on its waters but by far the most on any lake in the state.

Sgt. Lee Brown of the Department of Natural Resources' Gainesville law enforcement office said Tuesday that the holiday weekend on Lanier was "a little slow" overall. Only having two boating crashes reported between Friday and Monday was "very good," he said, and a dozen BUIs were about par for the course.

"That's pretty typical for a holiday weekend," Brown said.

That said, no other Georgia lake approached Lanier's total. Lakes Blackshear, Sinclair and Oconee each had four BUIs over the weekend, tied for the state's second most.

This year's statistics come just over a week after Governor Nathan Deal signed stricter BUI laws -- lowering blood-alcohol thresholds from 0.10 to 0.08 -- into effect. Brown said Tuesday he hadn't had a chance to look over reports and determine if the decreased limit came into play during the weekend.

"There were about eight or nine different rangers making the arrests," he said.

Eight BUIs and nine incidents were recorded on Lake Lanier during Memorial Day 2012.

As a whole, boating incidents, injuries and fatalities were down on Lanier last year, but the 60 BUIs reported nearly doubled those accumulated in recent years (35, 36, 30 and 32 from 2008 to 2011, respectively).

The state's stricter laws were enacted partly as a reaction to last summer's death of Jake and Griffin Prince, young Buford brothers killed when their family's pontoon was struck by a suspected drunk boater.