ATLANTA - In a unanimous vote Friday, Georgia State Senators voted in favor of Senate Bill 136, which lowers the legal blood alcohol limit for boating among other things.
The bill, also know as the "Kile Glover Boat Education Law" and "Jake and Griffin Prince BUI Law," reduces the legal limit from 0.10 to 0.08 and increases the penalties for hunting or boating while under the influence.
A first or second conviction will result in a misdemeanor; a third conviction will result in a high and aggravated misdemeanor; and a fourth or subsequent conviction will result in a felony. Convictions will result in a civil fine, imprisonment, community service, clinical evaluation, possible completion of a DUI Program, and a period of probation. A person's privileges to operate a boat will be suspended for three years and will remain suspended until the person has proof of completion of a boating education course and pays a $200 fine or $500 for a repeat conviction.
On the hunting side, if convicted, a hunter's hunting privileges will be suspended for one year and will remain suspended until they complete a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Reduction Program and pay a $200 fine or $500 for a repeat conviction.
"The citizens of Georgia deserve to be kept safe whether they are on the road or navigating one of our many waterways. If you are too drunk to drive a car, then you are too drunk to drive a boat or hunt," Senator Butch Miller of Gainesville said.
On the education front, it would require young people to complete a boating education course prior to operating personal watercraft.
Effective July 1, 2014, anyone born on or after January 1, 1998, and those turning 16 years after, who operates a motorized vessel on the water must complete a boating education course approved by the Department of Natural Resources. Children ages 12 through 15 years of age may only operate a Class A vessel if the person is with an adult 18 years of age or older who completed a boater education course.
It would also increase the age requirement for wearing a personal flotation device from 10 to 13 years old. Jake and Griffin Prince are two brothers killed when an alleged drunken boater collided with their family's pontoon on Lake Lanier last summer.
Kile Glover was killed when he was struck by a jet ski, also this summer on Lanier. The 11-year-old sustained severe brain injuries and died 15 days after the accident.
The bill will move to the Georgia House of Representatives.