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Wildlife officials out enforcing boating safety regulations

Posted May 30, 2011

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— Don't drink and drive – it's a reminder all too familiar on the holidays, and that's why several state agencies are teaming up to crack down on drunken drivers and boaters.

Officers with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are out patrolling this Memorial Day to help keep the waterways safe.

According to the commission, there are more than 300,000 boats registered in the state, making boating one of the state's most popular recreational activities. In nearly one in three deaths where a car or boat is involved, alcohol is also a factor.

Wildlife officer Brent Ward says that North Carolina sets the same blood-alcohol concentration limit of .08 for boating as it does for driving.

"It is OK to have alcohol on the boat and for people to consume (it) but once you have consumed the amount that you become impaired, that's when you have broken the law," he said.

Another reminder for boaters, Ward says, is to remember to have lifejackets of the proper size and type always accessible.

A new regulation that people still aren't familiar with, he says, took effect in 2009 and requires that all children under age 13 wear a lifejacket at all times while in any type of boat, including canoes, kayaks and other non-motorized watercraft.

Anyone younger than 26 who operates a boat must also meet boating safety requirements that went into effect in May 2010. They must have enrolled in a state-approved course and passed a standardized test to be in compliance with the laws. The courses are offered free throughout the state, as well as online.

Boating officers patrol approximately 5,000 square miles of bodies of water, and 220 public boating access areas, the commission says.

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  • Vietnam Vet May 31, 2011

    What's the big deal? Drive the boat sober, and have the required safety equipment on board...no brainer!

  • SARCASTICLES May 30, 2011

    The only thing that bothers most of us is that some of us say things like "If you don't have anything to hide, it shouldn't bother you. Will you feel the same way when the Home Inspection Gestapo kicks in your door? You shouldn't mind, right? As long as you have nothing to hide, of course. Check. "Wrapped in a Flag, Carrying a Cross". ;)

  • Desiderata May 30, 2011

    There are out there tryiint to save people from themselves or their family and friends who are not so bright...wait till the weekend holiday is over, and see how many people who are DEAD who wished they wore that life vest, paid a bit more attention to what they or someone else was doing, or wished they had stayed away from the lake and lived!!!!!!

  • pyranna May 30, 2011

    I've seen sooo many people out there stoopid drunk and I don't mean lit. Lit means above .08, which is.... Don't forget your license and yes, it's a rec. zone and nature area.

  • wolfprowl May 30, 2011

    I am glad to hear people complain when they break the law. I am on the water almost every weekend either fishing or skiing. It is inconvenient at times but I am glad the laws are in place. If you have a child fall overboard you would want them to have a life jacket on and protected in case an intoxicated boater crashes into your boat. Oh did I mention that I am also 25 and had to do the course? It helps people and is FREE.

  • SouthernBornSouthernBred May 30, 2011

    I'm glad they are enforcing these rules. Falls Lake is an accident waiting to happen and I have quit going there. I would rather drive 40 minutes to Kerr Lake for safety than be on Falls Lake. Anybody that has been on Falls Lake know there is nothing but a bunch of yound adults drinking in "party cove" and tubing by the boat ramps. If you don't have anything to hide it shouldn't bother you.

  • SARCASTICLES May 30, 2011

    Topsail Beach? That was a nice place to chill out and get away from the crowds....15 years ago. Places that are gone.....;(

  • Raleigh72 May 30, 2011

    Last time I took the boat out on the Waterway around Wrightsville Beach and Figure Eight during a holiday. I got stopped by the Coast Guard for an inspection. I had everything and passed. Then I went down a little further, I saw the Sheriff's Dept on a jet boat, the Game Warden, and the Wildlife officials. Isn't this a little ridiculous? I got stopped again for another inspection, but I showed my pass I received from the Coast Guard and they let me go on. Even the Topsail Beach Police have their own boat. I know every law enforcement agency loves being out on the water patrolling, but let's leave it to those agencies that are designated to do that. We do not need to waste money and have redundant services. Also it becomes almost harassment. I was riding along slowly with my family in the boat, no wild driving, and no alcohol. The only reason they stopped me is probably because I was the only one they could catch. Jet skies were blasting by me recklessly and swerving before oncoming boa

  • michaelj1492 May 30, 2011

    I got a ticket from these brave enforcers of our laws last year for not fishing without a license.

  • michaelj1492 May 30, 2011

    I got a ticket last year by one of these geniouses during a 'state fundraiser'. I took my son fishing. He was fishing. I sat on the bench, didn't even take a pole. He gave me a ticket for fishing with a minor without having a license. He couldn't even tell me how much to pay. I called the clerk's office and they couldn't either. I sent what I thought I was supposed to, they kept it and then arrested me for failure to appear in court. I arranged another court date and the thing was thrown out. What a waste of time. Beware, in NC, particularly in Chatham County that you could end up in jail for not fishing without a license. Way to go, fish and game should be proud of themselves. I bet they didn't have many friends growing up, probably still don't.

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