There are few better ways to spend the July 4th holiday than on a boat.
Thousands are expected to hop in Arkansas lakes this weekend, and most will celebrate with fireworks, flags and liquor. In the heat, that can get dangerous.
“‘Because you have different stressors such as the heat, the vibration of the boat, the sound that comes from a boat, all more stressors that enhance alcohol, so you get more intoxicated in a boat than a vehicle,” Ross Spurlock said.
Senior Corporal Ross Spurlock with Game and Fish says officers take it seriously.
In fact, we can verify that four years ago, Arkansas code 5-65-303 went into affect, combing the laws governing both boating while intoxicated and driving while intoxicated.
“The law is exactly the same and the penalties are exactly the same and if you have a DWI in a vehicle and then get a DWI in a boat, it counts as number two,” he said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is watching for offenses, too. Reminding us that hot days and high humidity do not mix with alcohol.
“So if you’re mixing alcohol with that, you are gonna become intoxicated a lot faster and put those with you in harms way a whole lot faster too,” he said.
If your blood alcohol content is higher than .08, you’ll be ticketed. The average cost of a DUI or BUI is around $1,500. The best advice? Moderation and play it safe.
“Nobody wants to remember the Fourth of July a tragic holiday. We want to keep everyone that’s out on our lakes and visiting our parks in an enjoyable situation and not one they would remember because of a tragedy,” Spurlock said.
We can also verify that having an open container in a boat is perfectly legal as long as the boat driver is not legally drunk.
Also, Operation Dry Water begins Friday through Sunday. Expect a heavy presence of law enforcement on the water, looking for drunk boat drivers.