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Press Release header
Fish & Boat Commission Reminds Boaters
that Boating Under the Influence is a Crime
June 28, 2012
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HARRISBURG, Pa – As the busy July 4 holiday approaches, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is reminding vacationers that boating under the influence (BUI) is a serious crime and a threat to public safety.

“Boating under the influence is no different than driving a car after someone’s been drinking,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “Alcohol impairs an individual’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. For the safety of all individuals on the water, please do not operate your boat, jet ski, canoe or kayak if you’ve been drinking.”

So far this year, seven individuals have been charged with boating under the influence. PFBC waterways conservation officers arrested 62 individuals last year and 66 in 2010 for boating under the influence.

“Many boaters may not know that the threshold for BUI is the same as with motor vehicles – 0.08 percent,” said Jeff Bridi, assistant director of the PFBC Bureau of Law Enforcement. “Fish and Boat officers regularly patrol waterways. If officers suspect someone is boating under the influence, they can arrest the individual on the spot.”

Last year legislators strengthened the BUI law, elevating the charge of homicide by watercraft while operating under the influence from a third degree felony to a second degree felony. The change increases the minimum jail sentence from three years to at least six years.

Pennsylvania has more than 331,000 registered boats. Because the July 4 holiday falls mid-week, the PFBC expects many families and friends will take vacation during the week, leading to a higher volume of boating activity on the days leading up to the weekend. Bridi urges boaters to follow proper safety precautions.

“Boating is among the most popular of summer recreational activities and a lot of people like to anchor their boats and go swimming,” he said. “However, a day of fun and sun out on the water could end in serious injury or even death if boaters don't follow appropriate safety precautions.”
For more information on boating safety, visit http://fishandboat.com/safety.htm.

Media Contacts: Please contact the regional law enforcement office covering your area to schedule an interview with a waterways conservation officer.

Northwest Region (Counties – Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, Warren)

Region Supervisor – Bob Nestor, (814) 337-0444

Southwest Region (Counties - Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, Westmoreland)

Region Supervisor – Tom Qualters, (814) 445-8974

Northcentral Region (Counties - Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Tioga, Union)

Region Supervisor – Jerry Barton, (814) 359-5250

Southcentral Region (Counties - Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, York)

Region Supervisor – Corey Britcher, (717) 486-7087

Northeast Region (Counties - Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming)

Region Supervisor – Larry Bundy, (570) 477-5717

Southeast Region (Counties - Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Schuylkill)

Region Supervisor – Ray Bednarchik, (717) 626-0228

Harrisburg Headquarters Contact - Eric Levis, Press Secretary
(717) 705-7806 or elevis@pa.gov

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Anglers and boaters can sign up to receive email updates on the activities of the Fish and Boat Commission at http://fishandboat.com/newsreleases/edelivery.htm. The PFBC is also using today’s popular social media. Individuals can stay in touch by following the Commission on Twitter at www.twitter.com/fishandboat and through RSS feeds at http://fishandboat.com/rss/index.htm.
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The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at fishandboat.com.
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