Officials caution safety for boaters during Memorial Day weekend
BATON ROUGE- The Coast Guard along with Wild Life and Fisheries officials are have warned boaters of the dangers of boating under the influence as Memorial Day weekend begins.
In every state, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Coast Guard along with other officials enforces boating under the influence. The law pertains to all boats and includes foreign vessels that operate in U.S. waters.
Penalties for BUI can include large fines, suspension or revocation of boating licenses and jail terms.
According to the Coast Guard, a boater is likely to become impaired more quickly than a driver. Alcohol use is the leading contributor in fatal boating accidents.
The Coast Guard reminds boaters to take the following safety steps:
- Take a boating safety course.
- Get a Vessel Safety Check.
- Have a marine-band radio on board. With marine-band radios set to channel 16, a boater is only a call away from help.
- Have signal devices or day and night flares as well as emergency position indicating radio beacons are recommended for alerting first responders.
- Wear a life jacket at all times on the boat or in the water, since there is little time to reach for stowed vests when accidents occur.