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RALEIGH, N.C. (June 26) - The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission warns that alcohol and boats are a potentially dangerous mix.

North Carolina law sets the same legal limits for alcohol consumption while operating a boat as for operating a car on the road - a maximum of .08 blood alcohol concentration.

State law also provides a charge of operating a boat while impaired if an operator is "appreciably impaired" even when blood alcohol concentration levels are under .08.

"There is research that shows it takes one-third the alcohol on water to be impaired as on land," said Capt. Chris Huebner, who coordinates boating safety for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, citing such factors as heat, sun, fatigue and vibrations from movement on the water. "It's important to have a designated operator, someone who is safe and sober, at the controls."

The U.S. Coast Guard reports a boater who has been drinking is 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than a non-drinking boater.

"A boat operator who drinks does more than put himself in danger," Huebner said. "His action puts everyone on board and other boaters at risk."
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