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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 11:18am

Boating While Drinking Arrests Up

The Department of Natural Resources said its officers arrested more people for boating under the influence on Georgia’s waterways this Memorial Day weekend than in 2012.

According to Captain Mike England, head of DNR’s law enforcement division, there were 27 BUI arrests over the holiday weekend in 2012 and 42 arrests in 2013.

This past weekend was the first big test for the state’s new BUI law, which lowered the legal blood alcohol limit from 0.10 to 0.08 to be in line with the law for drivers on the road.

“I’ve talked to a lot of the officers out in the field and the rangers are telling me that they’re seeing more sober operators, more people that have a designated driver. That’s what we want,” said Captain England. “We want people to get the message that if you’re going to drink and drive a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that we’re going to arrest you.”

Even though the number of BUI arrests was higher this year, England said the news over the weekend was positive.

“Last year we had 14 accidents; this year we only had six. Last year we had seven injuries; this year we only had five injuries. So, overall it seems like the lake was safer this Memorial weekend than last year,” explained England.

Lake Lanier was the waterway with the highest number of BUIs with 12 reported arrests.

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