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Boating under the influence a serious safety concern

South Carolina has some of the nation's most beautiful waterways, including access to rivers, lakes and the Atlantic ocean. Many residents take advantage of the opportunity to spend time on the water by boating, and invite friends and families along to enjoy the experience. As is often the case, social gatherings can include the use of alcohol, which can pose risks to those on the water. It is important for people to become educated on the dangers of boating under the influence.

A recent report looks at statistics surrounding the issue of boating safety, and found that South Carolina is among the states with the highest levels of boating deaths across the nation, ranking fourth. In some cases, these fatal accidents were linked to the use of alcohol by the individual operating the vessel. Statistics suggest that boating under the influence played a role in as many as 16 percent of fatal boating accidents.

A law enforcement official with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources suggests that individuals operating a boat should refrain from any level of alcohol consumption. However, many people consider having a few drinks as part of the boating experience. Unfortunately, it is believed that alcohol affects the body differently when consumed on the water as it does on land. This leaves many boat operators in a situation where they are impaired without fully realizing it.

For those in South Carolina who find themselves charged with boating under the influence, it is important to take a strong legal stance in the matter as early as possible. The punitive measures that accompany a conviction are similar to those associated with a drunk driving case. Avoiding such an outcome can go a long way toward helping an individual maintain their driving privilege and avoid the social repercussions of being found guilty of an alcohol-related crime.

Source: greenvilleonline.com, "Q&Amy: How does S.C. rate on boating safety?", Amy Clarke Burns, Sept. 16, 2014

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