North Carolina Agencies Team Up Against Alcohol And Shipping
In 2020, statistics showed 179 boating incidents in the state, 40 more than the following year. The North Carolina Wildlife Commission and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are calling attention to these fatalities and other navigation errors.
Across the foothills of Randolph, Alamance and Davidson counties, only Davidson had four non-fatal boating accidents, according to a 2019 boating accident report. In 2018, Alamance was in a fatal accident and Davidson was in a fatal and non-fatal accident.
Compared to other counties such as Carteret, Iredell and New Hanover with 10 or more accidents, the commission is working to reduce the number of accidents with this initiative.
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Randolph County officials continued to enforce the listed rules in areas such as Randleman Lake and Lake Thomalex. Some rules listed include:
- The maximum speed limit for all boats operating in the wake-free areas around the boat launching ramps will be 5 miles per hour.
- No boat should touch shore except in an approved area.
- Reckless navigation will not be tolerated and any offender will be expelled from the reservoir and liable to the full penalty of the law.
Sgt.Michael R. King Jr., Wildlife Law Enforcement Division, said that aside from accidents, the other huge mistake is the reckless and negligent operation of motor vessels that happens all the time. .
“It’s similar to if a person is acting erratically in a car or concentrating on things other than driving; it’s the same on a ship, “said King Jr.” A lot of times people operate too close to other ships, and that’s what we’re focusing on. “
King Jr. said law enforcement officers have the same protocol for checking boats as they do for vehicles.
Officers will look for anyone with a blood alcohol level that meets or exceeds the legal limit of 0.08 or is significantly impaired by a substance. “You don’t have to be 0.08 to be arrested while you’re impaired, and that includes all drugs, not just alcohol.”
For more than 11 years, the commission has continued its “On the road, on the water, don’t drink and drive” campaign to reduce alcohol-related crashes on state roads and waterways, in particular during increased traffic in summer.
King Jr. said the commission would promote safe and responsible navigation by increasing the presence of law enforcement on waterways.
“The campaign is also designed to educate the public on best boating safety practices through one-on-one learning opportunities and public events,” said King Jr.
Over Memorial Day weekend, the effective sobriety monitoring and awareness system will begin on May 28.
Read more: North Carolina Wildlife Commission prioritizes boating education as vessel registration increases
Lt. Forrest Orr advises anyone who drinks alcohol on vacation to designate a sober driver for a vehicle or boat. “Without a doubt, a designated driver will prevent alcohol-related incidents on the road and in the water and make everyone’s vacation weekend more enjoyable. “
In 2019, there were 134 boating incidents in the state. Trends have shown that people are much more likely to survive a boating incident if they wear a life jacket.
According to King Jr., just like a seat belt in a car, a life jacket can be the best protection in the event of a boating accident. In 2020, only 11 of 28 boating-related fatalities were wearing a life jacket.
Lori Brown, director of the state’s Mothers Against Drunk Driving Program, wants to educate people about the risks of boating while impaired.
The organization works with the families of boating victims to support them emotionally or refer them to a professional grief counselor if needed. Families are also assisted with the justice system during appearances or trials.
“We raise the issue of the dangers of boating and impaired driving and make them understand that you can kill and injure people while having a fun day on the water and having a few drinks,” he said. Brown said.
The group also runs a victim focus group program to help offenders who are driving, intoxicated and on drugs recognize the long-term effects of their actions. Victims and survivors affected by substance abuse incidents speak briefly about the accident and share a first-person account of how their lives were affected.
The Courier-Tribune sought comments from some of the participants, but could not get a response. However, testimonials from participants expressed productive results of the conversations.
With the group and the commission, the Directorate of Forensic Alcohol Testing met to discuss the main concern: the lack of understanding and knowledge about the risks of death.
“The whole group felt the need to be more aware of these dangers. Also to suppress the accepted behavior of drinking and boating,” said Brown.
Several events surrounding the campaign will take place May 28-31, July 2-4 and September 3-6, statewide, on several boat ramps and water areas to remind residents not to drink and drive.
Petruce Jean-Charles is a government watch reporter. They are interested in what is going on in the community and are open to advice on people, businesses and issues. Contact Petruce at [email protected] and follow @PetruceKetsia on Twitter.