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July: Most dangerous month in Maryland for DUI boating

This week is a cause for celebration. The Fourth of July holiday is just a couple of days away, if you are not off of work already. For those looking to enjoy the holiday on the water, they might want to be careful. July, particularly on Saturdays, is the most popular time when boating accidents occur on Maryland waters.

Many finger-pointers are quick to assume that the danger stems from boaters driving under the influence of alcohol. According to trends, however, drunk boating is not a significant cause of boating accidents. Still, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t authorities out on the water to cite potentially drunken boaters.

In recent years, fewer boaters have been cited for operating a boat while intoxicated. That positive trend could be the result of various things. First, it could be that fewer boaters are actually getting drunk. Also, there are fewer Maryland officers on the waters compared to in the past, perhaps making it less likely that intoxicated boaters get caught.

There has been a government push to get more officers on the waters, but that push was unsuccessful. With there having been fewer alcohol-related boating accidents in recent years, the state likely doesn’t see strong enough reason to devote more bodies and money toward preventing drunk boating.

If you are planning on hitting the water this holiday, know that there are still about 220 officers on Maryland waters who are specifically looking for drunk boaters. A DUI boating citation carries similar weight as a regular DUI, so be careful this holiday.

Source: The Daily Times, “Drinking, boating arrests fall as patrols cut back,” Brian Shane, June 26, 2012

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