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Pennsylvania Officials Increasing Enforcement of Boating under the Influence

Summer means more people heading out to lakes and rivers to spend a day relaxing on the water. Whether swimming, fishing or simply just taking time to visit with one another, this is the best time of the year for boat owners.

Officials with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission recently announced a significant increase in the amount of people that have been arrested for boating under the influence, which can carry punishments very similar to DUI. This year, there have been 14 arrests for BUI, with seven falling within the past month.

Last year, Pennsylvania had 62 BUI arrests. The extra hot temperatures may lead even more people than usual to head out on the water. It is important to note that a BUI may be issued for any kind of watercraft, including jetskis.

What concerns officials most about BUI is that it often leads to impaired driving. Boaters finish their day on the lake or river and then get behind the wheel to drive home. They feel that this places both other boaters and drivers at risk.

Like a DUI, boating under the influence may be charged when an individual's blood alcohol content is .08 or above. Those convicted may be facing jail time as well as a significant fine, and can lead to increased insurance costs. For convictions with a high BAC level, boating privileges may be revoked.

Each conviction for boating or driving under the influence can lead to more serious penalties. As the summer temperatures start to rise, expect to see law enforcement aggressively pursue BUI charges against those that officers believe are impaired.

Source: WHPTV.com "With July 4th around the corner, don't drink and boat" Kirk Wilson, July 3, 2012.

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Gregory R. Gifford
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