A boating safety expert with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is suggesting state lawmakers require all boaters to take an education course. Susan Stocker says the move would help reduce the rising number of accidents on Iowa’s lakes and rivers.
“I think that mandatory education should definitely be a push for Iowa,” Stocker told Radio Iowa. Over the Memorial Day weekend, there were at least 11 accidents and six deaths on Iowa waterways. Iowa law only requires mandatory boater education certificates for those operators between the ages of 12 and 17. Stocker says the law should be expanded to include everyone who operates a boat.
“There’s a lot of states that have mandatory education for everyone,” Stocker said. “It would assist not only the people who’ve been operating their boat for a lifetime…they would be able to react to the individuals who aren’t as experienced.” Stocker also believes it’s time for lawmakers to bring drunk boating standards in line with drunk driving a vehicle.
Currently, a boater in Iowa is considered legally drunk when they register a blood alcohol content of .10. That compares to .08 for motorists on the highway. “We are definitely going to bring that up again,” Stocker said. “Certainly, we feel the boating while intoxicated BAC level should mirror that of operating a vehicle.”
The B-A-C level issue has gone before lawmakers several times in recent years, but has failed to win approval.