Don't operate that boat while impaired
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Media contact: Karen Parker or Officer Jeff Summers, 386-758-0525
During this Labor Day weekend, enjoy the waterways
but don't drink or do drugs and then operate that boat.
With the final long weekend of summer approaching,
officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(FWC) will be patrolling the rivers and lakes in north Florida,
checking for those who are boating under the influence and for
"If you're impaired, don't get behind the wheel of
either a vessel or a vehicle," said Maj. Lee Beach, law enforcement
commander for the FWC's 17-county North Central Region. "If you
operate a vessel while under the influence, the effects are
intensified by the motion, water, waves and glare. This puts your
passengers and everyone in the boat's path in potential
FWC law enforcement officers take boating under the
influence very seriously and will be out in force this holiday
"We certainly want everyone to enjoy themselves and
have a great time on our beautiful waterways in North Florida.
However, if someone is impaired, we want to get them off the water
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,"
Beach added that in addition to BUIs, FWC officers
will be checking for resource violations such as fishing without a
license, and enforcing the manatee zones and limited-access
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 while under the influence when a person
under 18 is on board will be charged with enhanced
- 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