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Wyoming lawmakers debate boating-under-influence limit

February 21, 2019

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers took another step toward lowering the state’s legal limit for boating under the influence of alcohol after debating Thursday whether to exempt people using unpowered watercraft and small motorboats.

State representatives ultimately decided not to include such an exemption. Operating even the smallest watercraft under the influence can be dangerous, some argued.

The proposal, which earlier cleared the Senate 25-5, passed a second reading in the Wyoming House on a voice vote.

Wyoming’s current blood-alcohol limit for boating under the influence is 0.1 percent. The bill would reduce the threshold for driving a motorboat to 0.08 percent, the same as Wyoming’s legal limit for driving under the influence.

People operating non-motorized watercraft would continue to be subject to the 0.1-percent limit.

Lawmakers debated a proposed amendment to the bill to exempt people using unpowered watercraft and boats with motors under 25 horsepower from the boating-under-the-influence law. Some questioned whether a slow-moving boat could be dangerous to others on the water.

Even a boat with a small trolling motor could be dangerous to children on board, said Rep. Stan Blake, a Democrat from Green River. “If you’re impaired in a boat, then you probably shouldn’t be on the water,” Blake said.

The bill will be up for a third and final vote in the Wyoming House.

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