Drinking and driving: The rules are the same for cars and boats
If you drink and you drive a boat, you lose! That's just part of the message the Department of Natural Resources wants to get out. As the weather warms up and dries out, boating and fun on the water is picking up. But, there are a few rules to live by to insure safe fun for everyone.
Kelly Taylor and his family are doing a little wake surfing on Geist Reservoir. It's riding a surf board on the waves created by the wake of the boat.
It's fun the whole family has been anxious to have. But, this summer's below average weather has put a damper on things.
"Last year was fantastic. We were out everyday. This year, a lot of rain. As soon as you get out, it rains and you have to go right back in," said Taylor.
But, the weather is looking up meaning boat traffic is picking up and Conservation Officer Bill Doss is watching closely.
"Unfortunately, a lot of our drownings happen when there is a life jacket there ready for them and they just choose not to wear it," said Officer Doss.
Carrie-Officer Doss says while IN State Law only requires life vests to be on the boat, the DNR encourages boaters to wear them! The sun and wind can deplete and dehydrate people quickly.
"You add alcohol or drugs to that and it just compounds those effects and you get a lot of impairment we see when dealing drunk drivers on the water," said Officer Doss.
And speaking of drunk drivers, the legal limit is .08, the same as driving a car. And if you get busted you'll not only lose your boating license, but also your driver's license.
"You should, it's the same thing as driving a car," said Taylor.
"The trend is that it's such a social environment with drinking and boating. Folks want to get out after a long week of work and get out and relax and we know that and want to make sure folks are using better judgement and finding a sober driver," said Officer Doss.
So, whether you're driving your own boat, riding along with friends or renting a boat, the rules are the same.
Officer Doss says the number of drownings out on local lakes and waterways is down compared to last year because the amount of traffic has been low. But, he expects the numbers could rise as the weather warms up. But, he hopes people will heed the reminders and put safety first.