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.