Coast Guard responds to multiple violations of boating under the influence on St. John’s River Saturday and Sunday

MAYPORT, Fla. — Coast Guard Station Mayport maritime law enforcement crews cited five boaters for boating under the influence violations on the St. John’s River Saturday and Sunday.

The Coast Guard reminds boaters that strict penalties exist for boaters violating BUI laws. If the Coast Guard and or local law enforcement finds that a boat operator is BUI, the vessel’s voyage ?will be terminated, the boat may be impounded and the operator may be ?arrested. Penalties may include fines, imprisonment, impoundment of the boat, loss of boating privileges, even loss of driving privileges.

“People need to exercise the same vigilance on a boat as they do a car,” said Lt. Cmdr. Pat Schreiber, chief of response for Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville. “Boating under the influence can be just as deadly as a driving under the influence.”

Curbing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities is key to achieving a safer and more enjoyable environment for recreational boating. Boating Under the Influence is still the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, with 17 percent of boating fatalities a direct result of alcohol or drug use. Abstaining from alcohol is the safest way to enjoy recreational boating activities. Alcohol and many drugs can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. Alcohol can increase fatigue and susceptibility to hypothermia, sun, wind, noise, vibration and movement

BUI Facts:

  • It is illegal in every state and territory to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Alcohol consumption can result in an inner ear disturbance that can make it impossible for a person suddenly immersed in water to distinguish up from down.
  • BUI laws pertain to ALL boats, from canoes and rowboats to the largest ships.
  • Impairment can be even more dangerous for boaters than for drivers, since most boaters have less experience and confidence operating a boat than they do driving a car.  Boaters average only about 110 hours of boating per year.
  • According to the National Transportation and Safety Board, recreational boating accidents are second only to highway accidents in the number of transportation fatalities

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