Rules and regulations remain on boozing and boating

Published 12:05 am Sunday, June 28, 2015

NATCHEZ — Summer is officially underway, and with that comes people on the water. However, many risks come along with it.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks is stressing safety and also some of the most common laws, for example an open container.

“It would only be illegal to have an open container if you were in a dry county,” said captain Calvin Fulton of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. “Obviously, then it is against the law to have possession of alcohol and that includes on the water.”

Fulton said Miss-Lou lakes are heavily populated with residents looking for fun, but also with patrolmen.

“I would say that we have heavy enforcement on the weekends and lighter or a moderate presence seven days a week,” Fulton said. “But it is definitely heavier on the weekends.”

Fulton said if someone is to get into trouble on the water, the consequences are severe.

“A BUI (boating under the influence) is having a blood alcohol or breath concentration of .08 or being impaired to a degree that is unsafe to operate the vessel,” Fulton said. “And that carries a large fine and jail time. The only difference between a BUI and DUI is it takes four BUI’s for a felony, on the road it only takes three.”

With July 4 coming up, one of the more popular holidays to hit the water, Fulton said anyone planning to head out should be sure to take three things into consideration.

“Always have safety equipment and test it before to make sure that it is working,” he said. “Secondly, always have life jackets. I’ve never seen someone drown with a life jacket on. And thirdly, leave the alcohol at home. Alcohol and water do not mix.”