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Drunk Boating Lowered to .08

(From Rep. Sharon Steckman)

The House unanimously passed a bill this week that lowers the blood alcohol limit for operating a boat while intoxicated from .10 to 08. This will make the limit the same as drunk driving a motor vehicle.

In 2000, the Legislature adopted the implied consent law for drunk boating. This means a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officer can require a sobriety test of the boat operator, if the officer has reasonable cause to suspect that the operator is intoxicated. In 2010, conservation officers made 35 boating while intoxicated (BWI) arrests; three out of five boating fatalities involved alcohol.

The House amended Senate File 7 to define operating, which when used in reference to a motorboat, means the motorboat is powered by a motor which is running. When used in reference to a sailboat, it means the sailboat is either powered by a motor which is running or has sails hoisted and is not propelled by a motor and is under way.|

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