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Don’t Drink and Boat this Memorial Day

This Memorial Day weekend, thousands of Michigan residents will take to our state’s lakes and rivers. Boating is an important part of Michigan summer celebrations. As is alcohol. Make the right choice this year by opting not to drink and boat. It could save your life.

Michigan residents are exceptionally proud of their lakes. Michigan touches 4 out of 5 Great Lakes and contains over 11,000 inland lakes. That’s a lot of water to enjoy on a summer weekend.

Many Michiganders go “up north” for the Memorial Day weekend, filling the state’s campgrounds and public access sites as they enjoy the state’s plentiful natural resources.

Most of those revelers will make alcohol a part of their vacation. Summer vacation – from Memorial Day to Labor Day – has been called “The 100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers. Often that’s because of underage drunk driving.

The risks of operating while intoxicated aren’t limited to the road. In 2014, the Coast Guard reported 4,064 boating accidents – including 610 deaths. Alcohol was the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, causing 21% of boating deaths. Most of the deaths are caused by drowning, in small motorized vessels.

Drunk boating is illegal in Michigan. In 2015, the legal limit for boat drivers dropped from 0.10 to .08 – the same as drunk driving. Minors under 21 can be arrested for boating with any alcohol in their systems. Drunk boating is so serious that many state parks and boating access sites ban alcohol all together.

Far too many people ignore the laws, taking the risk that they won’t get caught. Law enforcement isn’t taking any chances, though. Every year, they patrol the Michigan’s lakes, beaches, and rivers, trying to prevent a fatal drunk boating accident. If they pull your boat over this weekend, you could face up to three months in jail, or more if your decision causes an injury.

Don’t take a chance this Memorial Day weekend. Commit to boating sober. If alcohol will be part of your celebration, make sure to leave it on the beach, and plan to enjoy it only after the boating is over for the day. The choice could save the lives of you and your passengers.

David Christensen is a boat accident attorney in Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He represents the victims of drunk boating accidents to get their medical expenses covered. If you have been injured in a boat accident, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.