MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Thursday's rain did not stop boaters from spending their Fourth of July out on Lake Tobesofkee. And for some, popping a cold one is just part of enjoying the holiday. But are you aware of a new state law cracking down on drunk boaters?
Boats and booze—they make a great pair of the holiday weekend, but take caution. The rules have changed.
"Had you heard about this new BUI law?" 41NBC's Amanda Castro asked. "I have, I have," boater Phil Martin said.
"No I hadn't heard of it," boater Chris Carrington said. "I know there was a drinking law but I didn't know about the change."
"Yea, I think I saw it in the paper," boater Quinen Peavy said.
In May, the state lowered the legal alcohol limit for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) from 0.10 to 0.08. Department of Natural Resources Conservation Ranger David Fisher says many boaters out on the waterways aren't aware of the change.
"We like to think when we tell people they go out and tell their friends and their families and they tell other folks," Fisher said.
Word of mouth, news coverage, and boating safety classes are some of the ways DNR is educating boaters. Martin says it is working.
"Media, I think has done a great job. Its been out there," Martin said. "I was well aware that it had been dropped to 0.08 so I think the word is out there, people should know."
Many boaters say the change is for the better.
"Being out on the lake is pretty dangerous business, especially if you're not in the right frame of mind," Peavy said. "Safety should always be the biggest issue when it comes to pleasure boating."
"You don't mix water and boats and alcohol," Martin said.
Conservation rangers will be out in full force looking for violators and keeping your safety is their top priority.
To be clear, alcohol is not allowed at Lake Toboesofkee.
DNR rangers will also be looking for safety violations. This year the state changed its life jacket law too. It requires kids under 13 to wear a life-vest while the boat is moving.