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Home  |  News  |  Law Enforcement-Corporate Partnership strives to increase awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence

Law Enforcement-Corporate Partnership strives to increase awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

LAKE MURRAY, SC - During a press conference today held on Lake Murray, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Colonel Alvin Taylor and Chairman of Budweiser of Columbia Gene Williams discussed the dangers of boating under the influence and the importance of planning ahead for a safe and fun boating season.

The partnership between law enforcement and Budweiser is nothing new; nor is the danger connected with boating under the influence. Sheriff Leon Lott, Colonel Alvin Taylor and Chairman of Budweiser of Columbia Gene Williams have been working together for years on making our waterways and roadways safer. Their partnership and efforts have included holiday cab programs, which have resulted in over 1000 free cab rides, education and awareness projects like the “driver’s license guides” and proactive enforcement efforts on our roadways and waterways – collectively making our communities safer from drivers and boaters under the influence.

The press conference was a hands on opportunity for reporters to get in to the Skipper’s seat of a boat wearing DUI/Impairment goggles -- allowing reporters to see first hand just how difficult and dangerous it is to operate a boat while under the influence.

Sheriff Leon Lott stated that every year we lose a life on our waterways by someone drinking in excess and driving a boat. The Sheriff added that we can prevent this by simply not drinking and driving a boat.

“Lake Murray is where my family lives, works and plays. Our Budweiser family of employees comes to Lake Murray every year; so nothing is more important to me personally, than their safety” said Gene Williams Chairman of Budweiser of Columbia. “What does it really take ……each of us taking personal responsibility, and doing the safe and right thing. Personal responsibility comes first. If each of us takes a moment to plan ahead and have a designated skipper; what a great summer it will be for all of us. Law enforcement needs our help and I am happy to say that Budweiser of Columbia is willing and ready to spread the boating safety message.

“There are approximately 500, 000 boats registered in the state of South Carolina and 50,000 of these specifically on Lake Murray,” said Colonel Alvin Taylor, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. “Memorial Day is the “traditional” opening of the boating season and we would like everyone to enjoy themselves this holiday season, but also to be safe. Our goal is to have no boating fatalities or injuries this year. Along with wearing your life jacket, having a designated driver is one of the best ways to prevent loss of life and injury on the waterways this summer. No one would condone people drinking and driving in a vehicle, and a boat is no different. With there being no brakes on a boat, speed limits or lines on the water the risk is as great or greater than in a car for an accident to occur. So be safe this summer. “

Sheriff Leon Lott, Colonel Alvin Taylor and Chairman Gene Williams stressed the importance of all citizens taking the time and effort toward making our waterways safer. They are asking that everyone do their part toward boating safety and are providing just a few simple tips that can make the difference between life and death:

  • Personal flotation devices – they must fit correctly, be used for the intended purposes and everyone must have one
  • When it comes to children, personal flotation devices should always be worn near any body of water
  • Boating safety checklist should always be followed when operating a water craft which includes navigational lights, first aid kit, fire extinguishers and audible devices
  • No operation of water craft while under the influence of alcohol – if you are going to consume alcohol while boating please use a designated Skipper and you must be over the age of 21

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