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Why We Need To Talk More About Boats and Booze

Living as I do near the coast in South Carolina, I, of course, know a lot of people with boats. Now, despite the location, boats and water are not my thing (Im here for family and for my job, Im not particularly partial to that beach everyone goes on about). But as I say, I know a lot of people who love to spend the whole summer out in the water, which means I know some people who have had some trouble about their boats and their booze.

What Ive found is, we need to talk about boating and booze because a lot of people dont know anything about it, and thats a problem. I know some people who have gotten into trouble because they didnt really know there were any laws about drinking on a boat. After all, what is the classic image of going out on a boat? Its drinking and fishing. Thats why a lot of people get a boat in the first place. And with so much water, a lot of people just assume there are no rules about how much they drink and how much they boat. Its a little hard for some to grasp that, as the local law firm Truslow & Truslow point out, a BUI (boating while under the influence) is treated just as seriously as a DUI (driving while under the influence).

For those who do know, theres still a need for more education. After all, one mistake, and perhaps even a misunderstanding or misreading from the police, can lead to serious consequences if the boaters dont know their rights or when they should seek some extra help. A single BUI conviction can lead to jail time.

Think about that. Some guy who had too much on a holiday weekend while on his boat might end up in jail when theres nothing around but the ocean and the waves. It makes sense, of course, since it can lead to serious accidents, but on some level, it seems a bit too extreme.

So, we have to start talking about these things and educating boaters. They need to know what the limits are, what the punishments are, and what they should do if they get in trouble. Talking about it before they get the boat, before they get the license, and regularly afterwards, will help prevent too much drinking in the first place. It will also protect boaters if they make that one-time mistake and take on a little too much on that holiday weekend.

While Im not the guy youll find on a boat or at the beach, I want that area to be safe for everyone, especially my friends and family. That means safer boating, and it also means more awareness of what should be done in the event too much drinking has taken place.

So, lets all start speaking up. We need to get this information out there. Lets keep each other safe, and lets look after each other when one of us makes a mistake.

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