Don't drive a boat impaired
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Media contact: Joy Hill, 352-258-3426
Here's a tip for boaters this Labor Day weekend:
Don't drink or do drugs and then drive a boat.
"It doesn't make sense to captain a boat if you are
under the influence of alcohol or drugs," said Maj. Paul Ouellette,
law enforcement commander for the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission's (FWC) 12-county Northeast Region. "The
intoxicating effects are intensified by the motion, water, waves
and glare, and driving under these conditions puts everyone on the
boat and in its path in potential danger."
FWC law enforcement officers take boating under the
influence very seriously and will be out in force this holiday
weekend looking for impaired boaters.
"We want to get them off the waterways before they
hurt themselves or someone else, and before they get on the road
drunk, hauling their boats home after a day on the water," said
A person becomes impaired and loses the ability to
make sound decisions and react quickly long before most people
consider that person "drunk."
"They may be able to stand without swaying and even
appear perfectly sober, but their reaction time is slowed and they
could pose an imminent danger to passengers and other boaters,"
Here are a few legalities to keep in mind when it comes to alcohol,
drugs and boating:
- It is a violation of Florida law to operate a vessel while
impaired by alcohol or drugs. A vessel operator suspected of
BUI must submit to sobriety tests and a physical or chemical test
to determine blood- or breath-alcohol content.
- In Florida, a vessel operator is presumed to be under the
influence if his or her blood- or breath-alcohol level is at or
- Any person less than 21 years of age who is found to have a
breath-alcohol level of 0.02 or higher and operates or is in actual
physical control of a vessel is in violation of Florida law.
- Adults operating a boat under the influence when a person under
18 is on board will be charged with enhanced penalties.
- A previous DUI conviction, combined with a BUI conviction
counts as two convictions, increasing possible fines and jail
- A person's right to operate a vessel on the waters of the state
will be terminated if convicted.
Please report drunk or otherwise impaired boaters
to the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922. You may remain
anonymous and may be eligible for a reward if your information
leads to an arrest. The Hotline is open 24-hours a day, every