Georgia BUI law becomes more strict - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Georgia BUI law becomes more strict

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

Governor Nathan Deal signs a bill changing the alcohol laws for boaters that will go in effect May 15th. The new law mirrors that of driving under the influence, making it illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol content higher than .08. Prior to this law, it was legal to drive a boat with a BAC of .10.

"We were one of the few states where the limit for vehicle driving under the influence and boating under the influence were different," said Cpl. Brian Hobbins of the Department of Natural Resources. "Basically this stems off of an accident some people might be familiar with last year on Lake Lanier."

Last summer, two boys were killed after a suspected intoxicated boater crashed into a family's pontoon boat killing 9 year old Jake Prince and 13 year old Griffin Prince.

"That's basically where this new legislation came out of what they call the Prince incident where these two boys were killed," said Cpl. Hobbins.  

A law that will impact boaters all over Georgia.

"It's got its pros and cons; I mean people come out here to have a good time," said boater Evan Williams.

"If it stops one accident; that would be good," said boater Ed Rice

Not only were changes made to the Georgia BUI law but also child safety on the water. Until now, the Georgia law required children 10 years old and under to wear life safety vests.  The new law will now require children 13 years old and under to wear a life vest while the boat is moving.

"Now if you stop, picnic, fish, swim or whatever they don't have to keep it on but while the boat is in motion, they have got to have that life jacket on," said Cpl. Hobbins.  

As summer approaches, Hobbins said they expect a busy season on Clarks Hill Lake. He said an increase in lake traffic increases the possibility of accidents.

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