FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Is there a bright side coming through the cloudy, rainy summer of 2013? How about a number of lives possibly saved? Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officials say fewer people on Georgia waterways over the summer may have led to fewer deaths and drownings.
Partial stats for previous years weren't available on the Labor Day holiday, but it's still possible to put forward a theory of rain-as-life-saver by looking at the numbers for this year compared to previous years. In 2013, there have so far been about 32 drownings and deaths on Georgia waterways. The year isn't over yet, but DNR officials say very few deaths happen after school is back in session.
In all of 2012, there were 48 deaths. That was already down from 60 in 2011. Sgt. Mike Burgamy thinks the trend continued further downward this summer because of the rain keeping people off the water.
"Good things do come from the rain," Burgamy said. "It is quiet, it's unusually quiet, the water's calm, you don't even hear any boats going."
Competitive sailor Tom Sawchuk said he never lets the rain keep him off the lake. As long as there's no thunder or lightning, he's up for a little sailing. But he's ready for this summer to be over.
"Yeah I'm over it, big time," Sawchuk said. "I'm tired of pumping my basement out when it floods, I can't cut my grass."
The other bright side? Lake Lanier is full for the first time in years.
"It's nice that our dock is floating on nice water and not dirt," said boater Ken Stone.