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Boating under the influence is no way to end summer

Summer may be quickly coming to an end, and kids are already back in school. However, there are still plenty of pleasant weekends ahead for getting out on the water. While some in Louisiana may try to cram as much fun and enjoyment into these waning days of summer, boaters may do well to heed reminders about the dangers of boating under the influence.

No matter if one is operating a yacht or a rowboat, it is illegal in every state to do so after having too much to drink. What many boaters fail to realize is that the environment on a boat increases the effects of alcohol on a boater's system. The motion of the boat on the water combined with sun and the spray can cause one's reaction time to rapidly decrease. When alcohol combines with these factors, a weekend boat operator soon becomes fatigued, and he or she may lose coordination and good judgment.

The Coast Guard enforces laws governing the safe operation of boats, and this includes those laws involving alcohol. If the Coast Guard suspects an operator is impaired, those agents will take the boat to mooring or require someone who has not been drinking to do so. State or local authorities will then decide whether to formally charge the operator for BUI.

Weekend boaters in Louisiana are urged to avoid boating under the influence by keeping plenty of snacks and nonalcoholic beverages on board. If the boat is docking for meals and drinks, operators should allow an appropriate amount of time to pass before getting back on board, just as they would before driving a car. However, if facing charges for operating a boat under the influence, securing legal counsel as early as possible will be to one's advantage.

Source: uscgboating.org, "BUI Initiatives", Sept. 16, 2017

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