Iowa will have a new, lower limit for boating while intoxicated beginning July 1. The new .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC), signed into law this spring, is intended to reduce vessel accidents, injuries and fatalities caused by alcohol impaired boat operators. The previous blood alcohol limit was .10.
“This reduction in the blood alcohol concentration for boat operators will hopefully result in fewer crashes and fatalities on the water,” said Susan Stocker, boating law administrator and education coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
“Our busiest holiday is right around the corner and we want people to enjoy their time on the water and to do it safely,” Stocker said. “Part of the enjoyment is being safe while on the water, and driving to and from the ramp. The lakes and boat ramps will be busy.”
In addition to the new lower BAC limit, Stocker said boaters should spend a few minutes checking the boat and required safety equipment at home in order to prevent problems or delays on the water.
“We don’t want boaters to have to leave the water because of things that can be corrected by going through the boat and trailer before pulling on to the ramp,” Stocker said.
Stocker said patience and ramp courtesy will be at a premium this holiday.
“I would encourage boaters to prepare their boat for launching before it is their turn to launch because there will likely be a line of traffic waiting behind them,” Stocker said. “The ramps will be busy, we know that. Be patient and respectful to other boaters. Everyone has the same goal of getting on the water.”
There are about 247,000 registered boats in Iowa. The DNR as well as other law enforcement agencies will be patrolling rivers and lakes during the popular holiday weekend.
2010: 5 Fatalities, 3 Alcohol related
2009: 3 Fatalities, 2 Alcohol related
2008: No Fatalities
2007: 10 Fatalities, 5 Alcohol related
2006: 5 Fatalities, 3 Alcohol related