Lower legal limit to drink and boat now in effect - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Lower legal limit to drink and boat now in effect

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They say driving a car is just like driving a boat. Officer Jeffery Billips is patrolling Augusta's Riverwalk marina enforcing a new Georgia law: the legal limit for boaters consuming alcohol is now .08; the same for drivers on the streets.

"Alcohol impairment can have a significant effect on the waterways," said Col. Eddie Henderson with the Department of Natural Resources. They will be enforcing the law. "There are already stressers that are out there with the sun, the waves, you know, people are already a little tired sometimes, and if you add alcohol, to that, that can really reduce their ability to maneuver in a safe matter."

On Wednesday, state officials toured Georgia's most popular boating destinations, Augusta's marina being one of those stops.

"It's sad that two little boys are dead today because somebody had too much to drink on a lake last year," said Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. "We're going to make sure that that doesn't happen."

Jake and Griffin Price were brothers. They were two of five boating crashes in 2012 that resulted from a BUI, or Boating Under the Influence. Their deaths inspired Governor Nathan Deal to sign a bill into law matching the legal limit on the roadways to that on the waterways. And some boaters are on board.

"I think any time you're operating any kind of vehicle, whether it be a boat, or a car, or a motorcycle, then you should be sober," said S.A. Daly, a boater in Augusta. "I don't particularly drink when I'm doing any of those things, but I have friends who drink, so I drive."

Just in time for the summer season, the Department of Natural Resources will be enforcing the new law. Already they say boaters blame them for ruining their fun, but troopers say they're not willing to compromise fun with a life.

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