Driving a boat under the influence can be big trouble.
For the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind boaters that drinking and boating don’t mix – and that boat operators with blood alcohol levels of .08 or higher risk facing charges for operating under the influence.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol is a leading contributing factor to fatal boating accidents. Nationally in 2015, 306 accidents involved alcohol use and resulted in 122 deaths and 258 injuries. In 2016, 282 accidents involved alcohol, with 87 deaths and 264 injuries.
Other tips for recreational boaters to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend:Exercise patience and courtesy at crowded boat ramps and docks. Observe all “Slow No Wake” areas. Maintain a lookout for and keep a safe distance from other vessels. Avoid unsafe speeds. Keep your speed down and use extra caution in congested areas. Children 12 and younger need to wear life jackets while underway by law. Wear your life jacket and encourage all your passengers 13 and older to wear them also. Check navigation lights and make sure to turn them on when operating at night. Carry your Boating Education Card and safety equipment appropriate for your size vessel. Canoes, kayaks and paddle boards are considered vessels, and passengers are required to have a life jacket on board and carry a whistle or other sound-producing device. If out after sunset, a flashlight is also required.