There have been a record number of drunken boating arrests on Iowa waterways this year. Susan Stocker, boating law administrator with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says 88 people have been ticketed for boating while intoxicated (BWI) through the first eight months of 2012.
That compares to 54 BWI arrests in 2011 and 39 in 2010. The biggest reason for the increase this year, according to Stocker, is there have been more boaters on Iowa’s lakes and rivers.
“Last year, we had the immense flooding on both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and back in February (of this year), we had 80-degree temperatures. Our boating season started a lot earlier this year than in the past,” Stocker said. There’s also been additional enforcement on Iowa’s waterways.
“One of the key things is Iowa has recently sponsored boating while intoxicated training courses,” Stocker said. “So, we have invited other states into Iowa in order to train their officers and our officers on the signs of BWI and enforcement.” This is the second year of a law which lowered Iowa’s legal alcohol limit for boating to .08 to match the limit for driving on land.
Previously, the blood-alcohol threshold for drunken boating was .10.