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Follow the law on the road and the water

Ah, summer — when the weather means boat days on the river or lake, maybe even a cold beer or two for passengers. It’s easy to forget on those hot, lazy days that responsible boaters must follow a few rules to stay safe.

The Ohio Department of Commerce Divisions of Liquor Control and Cannabis Control and Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials are happy to remind those folks the laws regarding alcohol or cannabis consumption while boating are in place for a reason.

“In Ohio, it is illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher or be under the influence of marijuana, just as it is illegal to drive a car. The consequences of boating under the influence can be severe, leading to accidents, injuries and even fatalities,” the agencies said in a news release.

Of course, passengers are responsible for safety, too. That includes wearing a life jacket and not becoming a dangerous distraction to the boat operator.

“Alcohol and boating do not mix,” said Jaqueline DeGenova, superintendent of the division of liquor control. “We urge all boaters to prioritize safety by staying sober while operating a vessel and responsibly enjoying Ohio’s waterways.”

Given the legalization of nonmedical cannabis, that urging extends to marijuana, too.

“Anyone who chooses to use these products are urged to do so in a safe and responsible manner, and should never operate a boat or any other kind of vehicle while under the influence,” said Jim Canepa, superintendent of the division of cannabis control.

Boat operators should be sure to familiarize themselves with Ohio’s boating laws before setting out; and be determined to stay sober for the excursion. As the agencies’ news release pointed out, patrols monitor boats and other watercraft for signs of impairment.

But if an interaction with law enforcement isn’t enough incentive to behave responsibly, remember your life and the lives of your passengers are in your hands. Boat sober.

editorial@vindy.com

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