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Eliminating boating while intoxicated on the Mississippi River will be the focus of a campaign by the Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin natural resources agencies and co-sponsored by the Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators to bring added awareness of the dangers of operating a boat while impaired.
“The dangers are real,” said Susan Stocker, boating law administrator and education coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Alcohol impairment remains the number one contributing factor, when known, of boating incidents across the country. A relaxing day on the water can become the worst day in a person’s life in a matter of moments.”
Stocker said the goal of the campaign is to remind boaters to be safe, sober and have fun on this great river and throughout these great states.
“The effects of alcohol can be intensified when combined with wind and wave action and an extended time spent in the sun. Operators may not think they are under the influence, but their judgment, reaction time, balance and vision indicate that they are,” she said.
Boating under the influence is illegal. Operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of.08 or higher is against the law in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. Boating under the influence applies to drugs, as well. Even some prescription medications can make operating a recreational vessel unsafe, especially if mixing prescribed medications with alcohol. Check with your doctor about the effects of any medications you may be taking and the risks associated with mixing these medications with alcohol.