When boaters spend a hot summer day on the water, a cold beer might go down a little too easily and quickly, especially when boaters are feeling a little dehydrated from being in the sun all day. For this reason, it is a good idea to designate a sober person who can operate a boat safely and legally.
In Georgia, it is illegal to operate a boat while intoxicated. Although folks who operate a motor vehicle can face DUI charges when their blood-alcohol content is 0.08 or higher, Georgia residents can also face charges for boating under the influence of alcohol if their blood-alcohol content is 0.1 or higher.
Penalties for boating under the influence of alcohol are just as serious as the penalties one might face for driving drunk. Although boaters can legally have higher blood-alcohol contents than drivers of motor vehicles, boating while drinking alcohol in any amounts can still be just as dangerous as driving drunk.
To combat drunk boating this summer, some boat rental companies in Georgia are reinforcing a zero tolerance policy in order to keep the lakes safe for all folks who are out on the water. Some companies even require groups to have a designated sober boater and the sober boater must sign a contract before the group can rent a boat and spend the day on the water.
To keep the waters safer, some safety advocates have been pushing to change Georgia's drunk boating laws. Officials with the state department of Natural Resources have been attempting to change the legal limit to 0.08. DNR officials were unable to change boating laws for this year.
Source: GPB News, "Lake Tragedy Spotlights DUI Laws," Parker Wallace, June 22, 2012