PRATT – You know “your limits,” you’ve never been in an alcohol-related accident before, and you could handle your boat with a blindfold on. You figure it’s summertime, the weekend, and time to relax and knock back a few. But that good time that you’re after can quickly turn tragic no matter how well you think you can hold your liquor. This summer season, don’t put yourself, those onboard, and other boaters in harms way by boating under the influence – it’s not worth the risk.
Alcohol use is still the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. And there’s a difference between drinking on land and drinking in a boat. Sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion – “stressors” common to the boating environment – intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs, and some medications.
According to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, July recorded the highest number of recreational boater accidents and deaths nationwide in 2016, with the second highest in June. Don’t become a part of those statistics. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism boating law enforcement officers will be on patrol during the July 4 holiday weekend as part of Operation Dry Water, a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of boating under the influence. Officers will administer breathalyzer blood alcohol tests, and if you blow a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more, you will be given a boating under the influence citation and lose your boating privileges.
If you suspect someone is boating under the influence, contact 911 immediately and provide the operator with the location, the suspect’s boat registration numbers, and a complete description of the operator and passengers.
For information on boating in Kansas, including regulations and registration information, visit ksoutdoors.com/Boating.