Boat operators who are impaired by alcohol are a factor in 21 percent of boating fatalities. A person can be arrested for Boating While Intoxicated if he or she is impaired by drugs or alcohol or has a blood alcohol content of .08 or above while operating a vessel. In addition, any person on a boat can be arrested for public intoxication if he presents a danger to himself or others.
Eighty four percent of drowning victims in a recreational boating accident were not wearing a life jacket. A U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device is required for every person on board a boat regardless of length.
Children under 13 years of age are required to wear a PFD on boats under 26 feet in length while the boat is underway. Boats 16ft and over are required to have a US Coast Guard approved type IV (throwable device). Current registration and certificate of number are required on all motorboats. Fire extinguishers are required on most motorboats. Lights are required after sunset.
Seventy seven percent of fatalities occurred on boats where the operator did not have boater safety instruction. Boater education is required for anyone born after Sept. 1, 1993 for operating a personal watercraft or motorboat over 15 horsepower or a windblown vessel over 14 feet.
Swimming is a nice way to cool off on the 4th. Remember that lake depths are unpredictable and dangerous, especially for children. A life jacket and close supervision is recommended for all children swimming in our lakes and rivers. Once again, anyone who is intoxicated and considered a danger to himself or others while on a public beach is subject to arrest.
To read more, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.