Local News

Life-Jacket Law May Change After Jordan Lake Drownings

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APEX — July 22, 1996, 2:30 p.m. EDT

A father-son fishing trip that ended in tragedy Sunday afternoon at Jordan Lake may be the final impetus toward forcing a change in boating-safety laws.

Sunday, Jerry Gattis became the fourth drowning victim in Chatham County, the second at Jordan Lake this summer. Gattis drowned trying to save his 14-year-old son after their boat capsized.

An unidentified park ranger says while current law mandates that there be enough life-preservers for everyone on board a boat, serious consideration is being given to changing the law to requirewearingsuch devices.

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The ranger says he's sure some people will be against such a move, but his department thinks it's necessary to save lives.

Gattis' 13-year-old son, Douglas, survived.

At least two life jackets were in the boat that capsized Sunday, but they were not being worn. Jerry Gattis reportedly threw his son one of the vests, and the boy made it safely to shore

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