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Georgia boaters: Don't get busted for drunk boating this summer

Earlier this year on our Athens, Georgia, DUI defense law blog, we had mentioned that lawmakers were pushing to lower the legal alcohol limit for boaters in Georgia. Before hitting the waters this summer and relaxing on your boat with a cold beer in your hand, you should know that the legal limit has indeed been changed.

Up until now, boaters could legally operate boats in Georgia while sipping a cold beer as long as boaters did not exceed the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.10. As many of our readers may already know, the legal alcohol limit for driving a vehicle is a bit lower. However, the limit will soon be the same for operating a boat as it is for driving. In Georgia, the legal blood alcohol limit for operating a boat will be changed to 0.08 as of next month.

Boaters who exceed the new limit this summer could face serious penalties similar to the consequences folks face for a first-time or subsequent drunk driving arrest.

Boaters have always been encouraged to drink responsibly while relaxing on their boats and to not operate their boats while under the influence of alcohol. But boaters do need to be aware that the limit has changed, and in order to avoid an arrest for boating while under the influence of alcohol, boaters should make sure they designate a sober person to operate watercraft. Boaters who are given a breath test when suspected of BUI will be arrested if the tests reveal that they are above the new legal limit.

The new BUI law was signed by Governor Nathan Deal last week. The bill will go into effect beginning in May. The law was changed to prevent drunk boating crashes and to increase the safety of all of those who will be on the water this summer. In addition to this law, the governor also signed a law that makes it mandatory for all children who are 12 and under to wear life jackets when they are on the water.

Source: myfoxatlanta.com, "Georgia boaters face tougher alcohol limits," April 24, 2013