Gov. Nathan Deal today signed SB 136, a bill that lowers the blood-alcohol content limit for boaters from a .10 to a .08 and increases penalties for those caught boating while intoxicated. The legislation also serves to educate the public on boater safety and guidelines. The signing ceremony took place at Holiday Marina at Lake Lanier.
"Far too many tragedies have occurred as a result of boating under the influence and inadequate boater education," Deal said. "Last June, I vowed to work with the General Assembly to pass legislation in honor of Jake and Griffin Prince, who lost their lives last summer in a tragic accident. As I have said, if you are too drunk to drive an automobile, you are too drunk to drive a boat."
The Jake and Griffin Prince BUI Law is the portion of the bill that lowers the blood-alcohol content limit to match the requirements for Georgia's automobile drivers. Previously, Georgia was one of only eight states that allowed a higher BAC limit for boating than for driving.
Another section of the legislation, known as the Kile Glover Boat Education Law, honors the young boy who was struck and killed by a jet watercraft last summer on Lake Lanier. The statute requires a boater safety education course for all motorized vessel operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1998, and it mandates that youths 13 years old and under wear life jackets on a moving boat.
"To Tameka Raymond, Kile Glover's mother, and the members of the Prince family, I want to thank you for your support of these important laws," added Deal. "I also want to express my gratitude to Sen. Butch Miller and the other legislators involved in drafting and sponsoring this bill, as well as DNR Commissioner Mark Williams, his staff, law enforcement officials, and anyone else who played a role in ensuring that this bill became law. I sign this bill for all the Kiles, all the Jakes and all the Griffins in our state. And, ultimately, I sign this bill for a safer Georgia."
The new legislation will also lower the BAC limit for hunting under the influence to .08.