- Licensing and Education
- Regulated Entities
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012
By John D. Doak, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner
Oklahomahas more man-made lakes than any other state in the nation. It’s a big reason why boating is a beloved pastime for so many residents. But that fun in the sun can also put your safety at risk. These statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard prove that driving a boat can be just as dangerous as driving a car.
That last stat is proof that alcohol and boats don’t mix. Even if you aren’t in a crash, drinking while driving a boat can cause serious problems.
"Operating a boat while intoxicated is just as dangerous as driving under the influence in a motor vehicle,” said Lt. George Brown with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “The law is clear. Anyone operating a vessel with 0.08 or more blood alcohol concentration is guilty of operating a vessel under the influence. Many water-related injuries have occurred because of poor decisions and/or risky behavior. Stay safe and please do not take unnecessary chances," Brown said.
Children 12 and under are required to wear a life jacket while riding in a boat, but the OHP recommends it for everyone on the water.
While adult Oklahoma boaters are not required to take a boating safety course, many choose to do so to reduce the risk of accidents. It may also help you save some money on insurance. Many insurance companies offer a discount of up to 5 percent if the owner completes an approved safety course. Children ages 12-16 need a boating safety certificate in order to operate a motorboat with 10 or more horsepower. The OHP offers a free 6-hour classroom course. Log on to www.okboated.com to find a course near you.
Oklahoma’s lakes and rivers provide a beautiful escape from the stressors of daily life. But be smart when you hit the water so that a day of fun doesn’t turn into a tragedy.