ROCKVILLE, Ind. -- Indiana has averaged 84 boating while intoxicated cases a year for the past five years.
Boating while intoxicated charges will lead to an arrest if the operator of a boat has a blood alcohol concentration above .08. The same legal limit as driving under the influence.
Indiana's open container law does not apply on the water.
While alcohol is allowed, boaters should use caution. An intoxicated boat operator risks the lives of any passengers on board and other boats. Should you experience an accident where someone is inebriated and cannot access their watercraft, IN Conservation Officer Nathan Lutz recommends a few basic steps to take in the event of an accident.
"Reach, throw, row, or go," Lutz says. "Whether you're going to reach for them, throw them something that floats, row to them and help them to shore or go get help. Whatever you do, use something that's going to be a medium in between you and them, so they're not pulling you directly in the water."
Alcohol isn't the only issue Lutz sees on the water. Registration violations, speeding issues and reckless driving are all common problems. If it has a motor, it must have a title. Kayaks and canoes do not have to be registered.
Similar to the laws of the road the same applies to the water.
"You have to follow the speed zones or the idle zones, shoreline, lake speed spots, night time speed, reckless driving," Lutz says.
A valid driver's license is required to operate a boat in the state of Indiana. A boater education card is necessary for operators age 15 who wish to operate a boat or jet ski, but do not have a license.
Lutz advice to all boaters: "Wear a life jacket, use good judgment and stay safe."