Officers Crack Down On Booze & Boats
MOORSEVILLE, NC- Don't drink and drive... even on the water. It's the message law enforcement is sending this weekend, with more boats and alcohol on Lake Norman.
Steve Akers of Salt Shaker Marine on Lake Norman is emphasizing responsible drinking to his renters.
Besides beer kegs and hard liquor, which law prohibits, he does allow alcohol on his boats.
"We make sure that whoever is operating the boat is not drinking at all because we stress that wildlife commission is out there and they don't fool around," said Akers.
Salt Shaker Marine rented out ten times the amount of boats Friday as they do on a normal weekend. About 30 percents of those renters were first-timers, meaning the safety course before they go out is that much more important.
"We emphasize that when they get off the boat to swim, the engine has to be off," said Akers.
The North Carolina Wildlife Commission says that one in four boating fatalities involve alcohol.
On Memorial Day last year, officers made 50 arrests on Lake Norman for driving while impaired.
"People are at their homes consuming alcohol and then they get out on the boat. Bars tend to be a little busier on the lake, which results in more people under the influence when they're on the water," said Ron Robertson, NC Wildlife master enforcement officer.
NC Wildlife is teaming up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Highway Patrol and alcohol law enforcement officers to crack down on the road and the water.
“Alcohol and water don't mix, so we're going to be specifically looking for individuals boating while impaired,” said Robertson.
Boat renters are working on new rental guidelines to increase safety.
The Lake Norman Marine Commission could vote on the charter as early as next month.