GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — When it comes to accidents and deaths while boating, you may think of bad weather or mechanical failures as topping the charts. However, that is not the case.
According to the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths and a major factor in most incidents is actually boaters under the influence of alcohol. That's where Operation Dry Water comes in!
This is an annual program with the goal of raising awareness and enforcement of BUI, boating under the influence. The federal limit for this is the same as driving a car, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) must be under a 0.08.
BM2 Austin Frye with the USCG Station in Grand Haven told us their teams will be out enforcing BUI restrictions and other boating safety regulations this summer and especially over Memorial Day weekend. If you are suspected of BUI, local law enforcement will conduct a field sobriety test and you could be taken to jail if found to be over the limit, as is the same with a DUI.
Now, what this does not mean is that you cannot have alcohol on your boat; you can. However, it is crucially important that the person at the controls maintain a BAC under 0.08. This not only keeps everyone on board safe, but can prevent you from leaving a weekend celebration for a weekend in jail or worse.
For more information about boating safety and regulations be sure to check out the USCG's boating website at uscgboating.org. This site has everything you need to know before you hit the water.
Stay safe out there, West Michigan!
-- Meteorologist Michael Behrens
Email me at: MBehrens@13OnYourSide.com
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