After 20 years, advocates of tougher penalties for drunken boaters have won a victory. Iowa law today has no teeth when it comes to penalizing drunken boaters — it’s technically illegal, but there are no penalties and no standard for judging who is and who isn’t too drunk to boat. The Iowa House, though, has approved a bill which sets a “point-one-oh” blood alcohol intoxication limit for judging drunken boaters. Representative Teresa Garman, a republican from Ames, has sought the change for 14 years — because of the death of Linda Jones, a family friend.During House debate of the bill, Garman read a letter from her friends who are the parents of the young woman who was killed in a boating accident.Representative Scott Raecker, a republican from Urbandale, said it’s only fair to include motor boats and sail boats in the list of contraptions which require sobriety on the part of operators.Someone found guilty of driving a boat while drunk and causing a death would face up to 25 years in prison if the bill becomes law. A first drunken boating offense would land someone in jail for 48 hours — and bring a fine of up to one-thousand dollars.
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