Senate passes tighter alcohol limit for boaters

The Senate unanimously approved a bill Friday to lower the state’s legal intoxication limit for Georgia boaters.

The measure follows the deaths of three boys over the summer during accidents on Lake Lanier. One accident, in which two of the boys died, involved a man alleged to have been boating while drunk. The bill is called the Kyle Glover Boat Education Law and Jake and Griffin Prince BUI Law.

Senate Bill 136 would make it a crime to pilot a boat with a blood-alcohol content of at least 0.08 — the same limit for operating a motor vehicle on the state’s roadways.

Most states require the blood-alcohol content of a boat operator to be lower than .08. But in Georgia the legal alcohol limit for boat drivers is 0.10.

SB 136, sponsored by Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, would tighten rules about boating and increase the penalties for those caught boating drunk — making it a felony if someone is convicted at least four times. It also would lower to 0.08 the legal intoxication limit for hunters.

Boating under the influence in Georgia currently is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and possibly 12 months in jail.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

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