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Mass. Enviro. Police Remind Boaters to Not Drink & Boat

Massachusetts Environmental Police boat

(Photo Courtesy: Mass. Environmental Police)

REGION (WGGB) — When you’re relaxing out on the lake, drinking may not seem like an issue. However, boating under the influence is responsible for 34 percent of fatal boat accidents every year.

“It’s more imperative that people don’t boat under the influence,” said David Unaitis of the Massachusetts Environmental Police. “They really need to be aware if they’re in a boat what the ramifications are.

The vibration, motion of the boat and engine noises makes the effects of alcohol seem more intense. Adding sun and wind into the mix heightens the chances of getting into an accident.

“You can go out and buy a boat and go 60 mph, have no experience whatsoever, launch it, register it and have no clue how to pilot it,” Unaitis said. “Throw alcohol into the mix, and that’s where we end up having some problems.”

Massachusetts law states that it is illegal to operate a boat under the influence of alcohol. BUI convictions can impact your drivers license.

“It’s a multiple offense now. So, it counts towards your drivers license. If you have on OUI in a car as a first offense, a BUI is a second offense. Penalties go up. Loss of license is longer.”

Massachusetts has strict penalties for violating BUI laws. It can include large fines, revocation of boat operator privileges, and possible jail terms.

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