Holiday brings out increased boating safety checks

Published 3:40 pm Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and its partners continue their “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign this Independence Day weekend.

Starting Friday, officers will increase safety enforcement on the waterways, conduct sobriety checkpoints and help spread public awareness to deter impaired operation of vehicles and vessels across the state.

The annual multi-agency initiative works to ensure everyone can travel safely on the road and on the water during summer holidays. In North Carolina, a driver or boat operator with a blood-alcohol concentration that meets or exceeds .08 is subject to arrest.

“Designating a driver is always a good idea whether you’re operating a car or a vessel,” said Lt. Sam Craft with the Wildlife Commission. “Just like a vehicle, you can be charged with operating a boat while impaired. The penalties include a maximum $1,000 fine and possible jail time, so it pays to be safe.”

The “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign is coordinated by the Wildlife Commission, State Highway Patrol and Forensic Tests for Alcohol, and supported by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard and local police and sheriff’s offices, along with participating non-governmental organizations, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Boating at night typically increases during the Independence Day weekend, which requires boaters to use caution and to be on high alert due to reduced visibility. Inland lighting rules are in effect and water skiing is prohibited between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. Personal watercraft are prohibited on state waters between sunset and sunrise.

Results from the Memorial Day weekend campaign can be found here. Learn more about enjoying North Carolina’s waterways at