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Blood Alcohol Level Lowered for Boaters

In 2014, Michigan passed legislation that lowered the legal blood alcohol content threshold from .10 to .08 percent for the operation of boats, snowmobiles, and off-road vehicles. This lower rate for recreational operation is in-line with the legal level for automotive vehicle operation. The bill also prohibits a person under the age of 21 from operating a recreational vehicle or boat, with any level of alcohol, and increases the penalties for those violations.

MBIA recognizes the efforts of MI Rep. Forlini (R-24), who during the bill negotiations worked to ensure non-motorized vessels were left out of the legislation, and for clarifying that a boat must be underway in order for a boater to be in violation. 
 
“We were also pleased to hear that no changes were made to Public Act 62, which states that, if a boater has a Coast Guard Safety Check decal on his or her boat, they cannot be pulled over for a random safety inspection, unless there is probable cause for violation,”  said MBIA Executive Director Nicki Polan. Boaters interested in a US Coast Guard vessel safety check can visit the Coast Guard website.
 
Michigan Boating Industries Association (MBIA) fully supports safe boating practices including the planning of a designated driver. “Boating in Michigan is a very safe recreational activity,” said Polan. “In fact, Michigan’s safety record is among the best in the country.” In 2014, Michigan had an 11 percent decrease in fatalities from 2013, a continued downward trend over many years.


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