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View Full Version : NEBRASKA - Senator wants to ban booze on boats


jeffbare
01-20-2011, 01:13 PM
Saying booze and boats don't mix, a state lawmaker wants to ban open containers of alcohol on Nebraska's lakes and rivers. And Scottsbluff Sen. John Harms says he expects a push-back on his measure from those who like to sip a beer while boating.

"I do not think you should have open containers on a boat, particularly while it's moving,'' Harms said. "There's not much difference than being in an automobile with an open container. Some of those boats go 50 to 60 miles per hour. Not only that, you are in a compressed space. I don't think you should take that risk."

Harms said he was led to introduce the measure by the decision last year to open up most state parks to alcohol.

The law now allows open containers of alcohol on waters that are not part of state parks or recreation areas.

But Harms' measure would outlaw open containers on a "vessel, motorboat or personal watercraft ... on waters of this state."

Gov. Dave Heineman agreed to lift the alcohol ban in state parks after the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission voted to do so.

The ban was lifted for all state parks and rec areas except Lake McConaughy, the state's largest reservoir.

Before the commission passed the ban in 1995, there were no barriers on alcohol in state parks.

The alcohol ban also will remain in effect at about 200 wildlife management areas where hunting is the primary activity. Visitors to state-owned properties will need to check signs to be sure what's allowed.

By some estimates, one-half to two-thirds of all boating accidents in the United States are alcohol-related.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 703 reported boating fatalities in the country (six in Nebraska) in 2009. Of those, 165 (two in Nebraska) involved alcohol. There were 422 injuries (four in Nebraska) from alcohol-related accidents.

Nate Standley of Lincoln, who often goes water skiing and boating with friends, doesn't like Harms' proposal.

"I don't think that's good. People like to have fun on boats," he said. "And if you can keep it under control and everyone else under control, then people should be allowed to drink."

Harms said he used to go boating with his children on Lake Minatare near Scottsbluff and saw many boaters drinking.

"I found it to be extremely dangerous," he said. "People drinking and not paying attention. That really caught my attention."

The bill would allow drinking in a boat that is docked or tied up.

"If you pull off to the side and you're docked ... I don't have a problem with that,'' Harms said. "But as soon as that boat starts moving, then I do. It puts other people at risk."

Reach Kevin O'Hanlon at 402-473-2682 or kohanlon@journalstar.com.

bturner2
01-20-2011, 01:28 PM
I've heard that 100% of boating related accidents are watercraft related. Maybe he should propose a bill prohibiting watercraft and save us all!

Geez will the reach of these people trying to protect us from ourselves ever have any limits. We have laws that cover operating vehicles while intoxicated. Please enforce what's on the books and leave the law abiding majority alone.

"Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves" Ronald Regan

shepherd
01-20-2011, 01:34 PM
By some estimates, one-half to two-thirds of all boating accidents in the United States are alcohol-related.


I wonder how they define "alcohol related?" :rolleyes:

loeweb
01-20-2011, 01:43 PM
This bill has to be associated with the new law that allows alcohol consumption in state parks in Nebraska.

aaron.
01-20-2011, 01:46 PM
I've heard that 100% of boating related accidents are watercraft related. Maybe he should propose a bill prohibiting watercraft and save us all!

Geez will the reach of these people trying to protect us from ourselves ever have any limits. We have laws that cover operating vehicles while intoxicated. Please enforce what's on the books and leave the law abiding majority alone.

"Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves" Ronald Regan


i agree with you 100%

milkmania
01-20-2011, 01:47 PM
I wonder how they define "alcohol related?" :rolleyes:

video cameras at Party Cove:confused:
youtube videos of Party Cove:confused:

FrankSchwab
01-20-2011, 02:24 PM
I wonder how they define "alcohol related?" :rolleyes:

The same way they do for cars - if anyone in an accident had alcohol in their system (above or below the legal limit), it's alcohol related. Makes you wonder if you took any two random boats on the lake, what's the likelihood that someone would have alcohol in their system. It's probably around one-half to two-thirds.

Interesting that the only hard numbers they give (165/703 fatalities) show that alcohol is only involved in 23% of fatal crashes. If the estimate is that half of all accidents are alcohol related, but only a quarter of fatal accidents are alcohol related, doesn't that mean that drunks are less dangerous than sobers?

In my experience, the *******s who aren't paying attention and are a danger to me and my family, don't pay attention regardless of their drinking.

/frank

Archimedes
01-20-2011, 02:50 PM
Love it and hope it passes.

I imagine the behavior of boaters on the lakes around here would improve dramatically if they passed a law like that and enforced it.

Age Fighter
01-20-2011, 06:12 PM
Love it and hope it passes.

I imagine the behavior of boaters on the lakes around here would improve dramatically if they passed a law like that and enforced it.

OK I am calling you on this now. This is your tweak of the day, right?

You can't really believe all the nanny state stuff you claim to like and be a boater. It just doesn't add up.

I think a better law would be that no one can legislate about a subject they know nothing about. That should keep most legislators the hell out of business and boating -- and both would be better off!!

Double D
01-20-2011, 06:16 PM
I've heard that 100% of boating related accidents are watercraft related. Maybe he should propose a bill prohibiting watercraft and save us all!

Geez will the reach of these people trying to protect us from ourselves ever have any limits. We have laws that cover operating vehicles while intoxicated. Please enforce what's on the books and leave the law abiding majority alone.

"Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves" Ronald Regan

Agree!! Like!! Whatever!!

bturner2
01-20-2011, 06:50 PM
After they pass this one the mandatory life jacket rule will be next on the docket (I'm actually pretty surprised that states like CA haven't already enacted a life jacket law). Boat US had a editorial this month on the push in some states to require all passengers to have a US Coat Guard approved life jacket on while in a watercraft. The group pushing for this little beauty used the same type of logic (something like... 90% of people that drown didn't have a life jacket on). Pretty sure after that one will be the requirement for air bags and helmets.

Folks, at some point we all have to "man up" (to those of you offended by my gender specific reference I apologize) and have to start taking responsibility for our actions and understand that there are risks associated with life in general. Enough of the nanny state and suing for things like.... I don't know, like falling into a fountain because you were texting and walking at the same time (yes that idiot is actually suing). Passing another drinking law won't stop people from drinking, they'll just be more careful about how they do it and be thrown into the system for having a couple beers on a boat after work one day. And even if it does manage to stop people from drinking all it will prove is that idiots don't need to drink to kill themselves and others on the lake.

I'm not saying drinking to excess is good or that it should be permitted. What I am saying is enforce what's on the books and don't punish everyone like grade school children for a small irresponsible group people. It's time to stop treating adults like children and hold everyone accountable for their actions.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong... Sorry about the rant.

2RLAKE
01-20-2011, 08:24 PM
amen bturner2! Well said

73blue
01-20-2011, 09:56 PM
I work at a marina and I have to say, its unbelievable to me that more people don't get hurt while boating. People are idiots when they get on or around water. Many are drunk. Many aren't. While I don't personally condone drinking or sell beer at my marina, I don't believe that this law is appropriate. As bturner2 alluded to, the necessary laws are there. The people found guilty of these laws should be absolutely and harshly punished. Especially the ones with kids on the boat. But more laws are not the answer. You can't legislate morality or common sense and you can't protect morons from themselves.

2RLAKE
01-20-2011, 10:46 PM
i almost lost my daughter a few fews ago to a drunk idiot on a waverunner ... doesnt mean we should ban beer on the water just means we need to be repsonsible

Idiots and alcohol will always end the same way ... hey watch this

ahhudgins
01-20-2011, 10:58 PM
I work at a marina and I have to say, its unbelievable to me that more people don't get hurt while boating. People are idiots when they get on or around water. Many are drunk. Many aren't. While I don't personally condone drinking or sell beer at my marina, I don't believe that this law is appropriate. As bturner2 alluded to, the necessary laws are there. The people found guilty of these laws should be absolutely and harshly punished. Especially the ones with kids on the boat. But more laws are not the answer. You can't legislate morality or common sense and you can't protect morons from themselves.

I'll have to admit that I'm on the fence with this one. I don't drink while I'm boating, but that doesn't protect ME or my skier while I've stopped in the water. The accident at our lake last year was caused by one drunk driver running completely over another boat that had stopped. Alcohol was not the ONLY cause, it was also a lack of concentration and stupidity. I'm sure (I hope) that most of us here use better judgement when it comes to alcohol and boating, but for the ones that don't, you can't get a life back once it's gone. Also, if we banned texting and walking, the woman wouldn't have fallen in the fountain!!:D

ahhudgins
01-20-2011, 11:01 PM
Here is the one that I mentioned:
http://www.mastercraft.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=36871&highlight=accident+lake


Sorry, I don't have a solution. We have laws on the books already but laws get broken. I just hope no one gets killed.

thatsmrmastercraft
01-21-2011, 12:04 AM
1. Why not just enforce the laws that are already there. Want more/better enforcement? Spend some money on increased water patrol. :confused:

2. Nebraska has water? :D

H20skeefreek
01-21-2011, 12:49 AM
I think this law is a great idea. I think they should require boaters licenses too. Too many morons out there making it unsafe for my family. No matter how safely I operate my boat, I can't keep my crew safe if some moron is driving drunk. I have no problem with drinking responsibly, but drinking and boating is never responsible....sorry.

MariStar-Man
01-21-2011, 01:18 AM
While on the lakes, I have noticed that about 3:00pm the Boating atmosphere, gets heightened, and I have always assumed that it was because of the drinking. You know... Driving Faster, driving too close, power turns, and everyone laughing while they are doing it...lol

It's a hard call. I say, if you are driving a MasterCraft, there should be some professional courtesy...

Anyway, if the cops are out, and you’re a jerk, they will find a reason to take you away with or without the New Law going into effect...

chippy1971
01-21-2011, 04:29 AM
So the rule down under is the driver and the observer ( the person that watchers the skier / skiers ) must not be over the limit which is 0.05. If they are they will loose there boat and car license and have fines in excess of a few thousand dollars.

Now I have no problems with these rules and to be honest I think it is good. The amount of people that drink and drive is crazy and they are the ones that kill others and not themselves. It is like people drink driving and killing a family and not themselves.

So I don't have a problem with the rule so long as there is a least one to two sober people on the boat looking after everyone else.

skeeler
01-21-2011, 06:23 AM
Living in Nebraska, I can tell you this has been a hot topic since 2009. If I recall correctly, almost all of those deaths in 2009 occurred on private lakes, not state parks. Even on the private lake that we live on, there has been a huge crack down, not just on alcohol related behavior, but just bad boating behavior in general. You know how it goes, if you aren't very bright to begin with, adding some alcohol makes it even worse!

73blue
01-21-2011, 07:51 AM
I think this law is a great idea. I think they should require boaters licenses too. Too many morons out there making it unsafe for my family. No matter how safely I operate my boat, I can't keep my crew safe if some moron is driving drunk. I have no problem with drinking responsibly, but drinking and boating is never responsible....sorry.

I do agree with the license part. In TN, anyone born in 1989 or after is required to have a license but for some reason they cant make it retroactive. I also agree that drinking and boating is irresponsible. Thats why there is a BUI law. But again, its more about enforcement. We have maybe 4-5 officers on a 28000 acre lake thats 35 miles long. Thats when they are working. I've even asked if there is some kind of process I could go through to stop or report drunk operators that come into the marina. I hate watchin these idiots just drive off, knowing they are a danger to themselves and me.

bturner2
01-21-2011, 08:45 AM
The trouble with the type of laws like the one being proposed is that everyone assumes that once they pass it magically no one will be drinking and we'll have boating nirvana. Sorry folks in the real world it doesn't work that way. Many of the same people that cause these issues by getting absolutely blasted will still drink and will still cause the same problems as before. The only difference now is that when they get caught they'll get an additional $500 fine.

As was stated above you can't legislate common sense nor can you stop people from doing things they really want to do (anyone heard of prohibition?). All these types of laws do is restrict the freedoms of law abiding citizens. The people who were going to party their butts off will still do so and as Skeller states it will do nothing to effect the locations where most of the problems were anyway. Once again the laws are already on the books, enforce those and move away from the draconian tactics our law makers (typically Dems) tend to impose on us in the name of saving us from ourselves.

atlfootr
01-21-2011, 09:17 AM
Start first w/ the AUTOMOBILE DRIVERS in NEBRASKA - Senator!

http://www.northgaduischool.com/Portals/10481/DUI.jpg

bobx1
01-21-2011, 11:31 AM
Speed also kills and IMO, that should be a priority over open containers......I'll take my chances with a 50 year old guy in a party barge with an open container over a sober guy in a bass boat going 60mph at night.

X2M
01-21-2011, 12:15 PM
Love it and hope it passes.

I imagine the behavior of boaters on the lakes around here would improve dramatically if they passed a law like that and enforced it.

I agree with you Archimedes.

flya750
01-21-2011, 12:17 PM
I have been boating all my life in big lakes and small lakes... always with alcohol around.. I have never had a close call....Why ruin boating for the responsible boaters who think beer and boating is one of the best American past times......these conservatives really make me sick to my stomach..

Hollywood
01-21-2011, 01:34 PM
The bill would allow drinking in a boat that is docked or tied up.


Thread title is a little misleading. From what I can gather the intent of the bill is to ban open containers on boats that are in motion.. Either way, personally do not agree with it.

Luv2Ski
01-21-2011, 01:38 PM
99% of boaters think they are better drivers than average..... There are likely several of us that are part of the problem, we are just in denial.... Definitely not me..... Just saying.

I believe open containers within a boat in-motion is already illegal in VA and they are phasing in licensing requirements as well. Of course, obtaining a license only requires passing a written exam or taking a course, but better than nothing. Both of these recent laws seam reasonable now that they are in place, but there is no question that it will not eliminate problems. It is not exactly "hard" to see the sheriffs boat from a distance. At the end of the day, it just provides more leverage in a civil court.

jeffbare
01-21-2011, 02:20 PM
What would Sen. John Harms think of this guy? Better not open one.

Archimedes
01-21-2011, 03:08 PM
OK I am calling you on this now. This is your tweak of the day, right?

You can't really believe all the nanny state stuff you claim to like and be a boater. It just doesn't add up.

I think a better law would be that no one can legislate about a subject they know nothing about. That should keep most legislators the hell out of business and boating -- and both would be better off!!

Drinking and boating is no different than drinking and driving IMO. I'm against both.

Hollywood
01-21-2011, 05:17 PM
So I can chug 1 beer, then jump in the car and drive off but I can't sip it while driving...

ddanenberger
01-21-2011, 05:51 PM
the data does not support the proposed legislation. The biggest item in the report shows accidents with operators that have less than 500 hours experience. Even more accidents when the operators did not attend any safety course.

Any death is one to many, but to spend this kind of money for programs associated with the bill, law enforcement, court time, etc. over 2 deaths, reguardless of the cause seems unreasonable.

Even better, over 10% of the deaths were in canoes. Outlaw canoes?

I have been boating since I was 13, a long time ago, boating accidents have not changed over the years. The statics remain pretty constant.

You cannot legislate morality, when will they quit trying.

1redTA
01-21-2011, 05:59 PM
I wouldn't worry about enforcement, much, anyone realize that police officers, fire fighters and other federal, state and city personnel are being let go in large lots lately?

ddanenberger
01-21-2011, 06:11 PM
Seems we should concentrate legislation in fixing that problem first. Priority are way out of wack.

oldairboater
01-22-2011, 11:56 AM
I see nothing wrong with someone drinking alcohol while driving anything. I see something wrong with being dangerous while under the influence. It is a fine line. Allowing people to drink and drive. Some cross the line into the dangerous area by not being in control of their consumption. I prefer that to a nanny state that is full of nanny citizens that baa. I fear government and knee jerk more then I fear drunks. Drinking and boating is no different than drinking and driving IMO. I'm against both.