Spending a hot summer day out on the water, having a few cold ones and soaking up the sunshine might sound just about perfect to some, but West Virginia Division of Natural Resources officers want to remind residents of the danger of have too many of those cold ones, then operating a boat.
This weekend, as part of a national effort, those officers will be out in force, cracking down on boaters whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state legal limit of 0.08 percent.
According to the Boating Safety Resource Center, boat operators are likely to become impaired more quickly – drink for drink – than someone driving a car. Boating under the influence convictions can result in large fines, jail time and revocation of operating privileges. The relaxed atmosphere of most boating excursions may make those punishments seem overly harsh, but the truth is alcohol is involved in one-third of all recreational boating fatalities.
In fact, in addition to the danger to others, the Boating Safety Resource Center says a boat operator with a blood alcohol content of 1 percent or higher is more than ten times as likely to die in a boating accident than someone with no alcohol in his or her system.
Of course, the safest way to boat is with no alcohol on board. Pack plenty of water and other non-alcoholic beverages, along with lots of food and snacks. Plan ahead and make smart decisions about enjoying your day.
Summer is just under way. Have fun on our local lakes, rivers and creeks – but be smart and safe in order to continue enjoying the long summer ahead.