As summer break begins, folks hit the water to unwind. The season has just begun and so far boaters are obeying the law.
“It’s starting to get busy out there but so far no major incidents everybody’s having a good time and being safe for the most part,” said Sgt. Jim Robarge with the Mercer Island Police Department.
But every year police respond to a number of boating accidents where alcohol is a contributing factor. According to national safety statistics, a third of all boating fatalities involve alcohol.
A new law is set to take effect this summer designed will keep families safe while on the water in Washington. Beginning July 28th, the penalty for boating under the influence is will change from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor.
“While it’s not illegal to drink on a boat it is illegal to operate a boat while impaired just as it would be in a car and we strongly encourage people to approach it the same way they would on the road, have a designated skipper,” said Robarge.
Like the road, the legal limit on the water is .08. If you are busted for boating under the influence you could now face up to a year in jail and a fine of $5,000.
Officers want boaters to have fun but do it responsibly.