New boating while drunk law takes effect Sunday August 4, 2006, 2:51 PM
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Beginning Sunday, operating a boat while drunk
will get you the same stiff penalties as an arrest for drunken
Supporters of the bill passed by the Legislature in June and signed
into law in July by Gov. George Pataki note that 28 percent of fatal
boating accidents involved alcohol in 2004, the latest year for which
statistics are available.
“Boating while intoxicated is at least as dangerous as driving while
intoxicated because the sun increases the effects of alcohol,” stated
Denna Cohen, the president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving on Long
Under the new law, a first conviction for boating while intoxicated
would be a misdemeanor with a sentence of up to a year in jail, instead
of 90 days in years past. The fine would also increase to a maximum of
$1,000 from $500.
A second conviction in 10 years would be a Class E felony, carrying up
to four years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. A third conviction in
10 years would be a Class D felony with a sentence of up to seven years
in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The maximum fine for boating while ability impaired will rise to $500
from $350. A second conviction in five years would carry a fine of up to
$750 and 30 days in jail.
“Boating while intoxicated is not a harmless activity and now it will
be treated in the serious manner it needs to be,” said Sen. John
Flanagan, a Long Island Republican who co-sponsored the bill.
“This law will give marine law enforcement and prosecutors the
necessary tools to maintain an aggressive posture against BWI and BWAI
violators,” said Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli, a Nassau County Democrat
who also sponsored the measure.