Allatoona Lake is one of the busiest U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes in the nation; an estimated 6.8 million people visited in 2018. With a lake that busy, there always are going to be problems with overcrowding and delays in certain areas. Follow these 10 unofficial rules to help you be a more courteous boater, and to help speed up your time at the ramps.
1. Know how to handle your equipment before you get to the lake. There will be people new to boating who will need extra time when launching a boat. However, launching for the first time on a busy Sunday afternoon in June at Allatoona Lake, is not a good idea. You should make a point to become more familiar with your boat during the week or at less busy locations.
2. Be prepared before you approach the ramp. There are many things that need to be checked before launching your boat. Please move to the side if you are not prepared, and let others go around you. Stopping at the top or bottom of the ramp to check your boat and unload is never a good idea, and sometimes can drastically delay other boaters who are in line. Always unload away from the launch area.
3. Do not waste time once you have launched your boat. Pull your vehicle and trailer out, and let the next boater continue. This is not the time to have a long conversation with the boater in the next lane about how the fishing is, or where the best place to go tubing is located.
4. Keep family members, who are not part of the launching effort, inside the vehicle. There have been many near misses when someone is backing a trailer down a ramp, and children or people from the car in the next lane wander into the driver’s lane.
5. Know your role. Make sure the driver of the boat and the driver of the vehicle and trailer know their roles before launching begins.
6. Do not jump in line around other boaters who are waiting to launch or load. This is an argument or physical altercation waiting to happen.
7. Do not misuse the ramp courtesy dock. Don’t tie up at the dock any longer than necessary; be considerate of other boaters. All corps ramp courtesy docks have rule signs posted. Ten minutes is the recommended time allowed.
8. Courtesy docks are for loading and unloading vessels using the ramp. This is not an area to park your jet ski while you’re on the beach, nor is it a good place for sunbathing or fishing. Fishing is especially unsafe. Many boaters have been hooked at the ramp or dock by someone who thought it a good idea to fish there.
9. Follow the same rules when returning to load your boat. Don’t use the ramp to secure your boat for the ride home; clear the ramp as quickly and safely as possible.
10. Finally, please remember to wear your life jackets! Remember, life jackets worn, nobody mourns.
For further information concerning boating at Allatoona Lake, please contact the Operations Project Management Office at 678-721-6700.
– Christopher Purvis, the lead ranger at Lake Allatoona over Partnerships, Volunteers and Project Security.