‘Floating under the influence’ becomes legal in Georgia

This story was originally published on Monday, March 7, 2016

Update: It is now legal to float with hooch under new Georgia legislation. Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 172 into law on May 3, 2016. The law goes into effect July 1.

>> Here is a look at some of the more important new laws, as well as some of the odder ones, going into effect July 1

Original story: "Floating under the influence" is almost legal in Georgia, after the Senate approved changes to the state's boating laws making clear drinking a beer on an inflatable raft close to shore doesn't equate to what's commonly known as boating under the influence.

House Bill 172 would allow adults to partake in their favorite alcoholic beverage while floating on the water as long as their raft doesn't have a motor and they stay within 100 feet from shore on a lake, pond or "other nonflowing body of water."

State Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Armuchee, sponsored the bill. He has said the bill aims to recognize a long-treasured pastime in Georgia. "I submit to you," he told some senators recently, "that there is a significant difference between boating under the influence and floating under the influence."

HB 172 passed the Senate on a 49-1 vote but because of some tweaks to the bill, it needs one more sign-off from the state House before final passage.