Friday, August 12, 2022
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Alcohol Contributes To 50 Percent Of Boating Accidents, Plan Ahead Before 4th Of July Boating

Law enforcement set to be out on the waters in full force in hopes of enforcing safe boating over the Fourth of July weekend.

TWRA Wildlife Officer Dustin Buttram said that the holiday is one of the busiest times for his department. He said officers will spend the weekend doing safety checks, particularly checking for any signs of boating under the influence.

“We see just about any type of accident around the 50 percent mark is alcohol-contributed,” Buttram said. “Whether it’s drowning, or running aground, or hitting another vessel, it seems to play a factor in all of those.”

Repercussions for reckless boating can range anywhere from a verbal warning to a hefty fine depending on the offense. Buttram said that they are encouraging folks to prepare for the weekend by having a designated driver if partaking in drinking, and by readying themselves for extremely congested waterways.

Buttram said that the 4th of July is also the first time many boaters have to navigate the water after sunset.

“We see that they realize after it’s dark that their lights are not working or a bulb is blown or a fuse is blown so they have no lights to let other people know they’re out there,” Buttram said. “We see that a lot (…) At these fireworks events, there’ll be hundreds of boats out there so we just need folks to be aware that you can’t operate like you would on a normal day out there. There are just so many more people, in the water and on boats.”

Buttram said that in looking at initial weather reports for the weekend, those who are going to head out on the water should prepare for pop-up storms. He said that they can appear as quickly as they end.