With Memorial Day behind us and the last day of school just around the corner, North Carolina residents are in the mood for summer fun. Because summer fun often includes boating on the lakes or the Intercoastal Waterway, it is time for us to remind everyone of the consequences of drinking and boating.
We aren’t alone, of course. Several state agencies have once again launched a joint campaign targeting driving while intoxicated, whether behind the wheel of a car or the wheel of a boat. “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” kicked off on Memorial Day and will continue through Labor Day in September.
The legal limit for a DWI in either vehicle is 0.08 percent blood alcohol content. It is also illegal to surf or water ski while under the influence, and officers have indicated that they will arrest anyone who is “appreciably impaired” by alcohol or other substances. Boating while intoxicated is a class 2 misdemeanor, carrying a maximum sentence of 60 days and a $1,000 fine.
Law enforcement will run sobriety checkpoints on land and water over holidays. Additional patrols will be out over holiday weekends and at other peak times, as well. As we have noted before, the best way to avoid being arrested is not to drink and drive. There is such a thing as a designated helmsman!
During the 2012 campaign period, North Carolina logged 28 boating deaths and 80 injuries. The numbers put us in seventh place nationally for boating fatalities and ninth for injuries. The state’s roads were not much safer: We lost 88 people in drunk driving accidents, with another 913 injured.
Source: Charlotte Observer, “Agencies announce effort to curb drunken driving, boating,” Joe Marusak, May. 15, 2013