Sobriety on the Water

9 years 10 months 3 weeks ago July 26, 2007 Jul 26, 2007 Thursday, July 26 2007 Thursday, July 26, 2007 1:50:03 PM CDT in News

The study will look at alcohol and boating, which often go hand-in-hand at the lake.

What makes this study so interesting is that the research institute says it's using the lake as one of only three sites in the country. When it's all said and done, the California group plans to unveil a sobriety test standard designed for use in every area in the United States involving boaters and booze.

Boats, booze and music is a familiar site at the lake's Party Cove - part of the reason the Van Nuys, Ca. research firm was drawn to the area.

"The idea is to be able to detect impaired boaters, and to detour drinking and boating and to prevent injuries and deaths," researcher Dary Fiorentini said.

As it is right now, there is no nationwide field sobriety standard for on the water.

But the California researchers said that needs to change.

"I saw a culture in which drinking is part of boating," Fiorentini said.

In addition to the Lake of the Ozarks, Fiorentino said his research firm looked at Lake Havasu in Southwest Arizona, and a number of areas in South Carolina.

He says researchers want to find the best way to test a boater's drunkenness and that has law enforcement officials at the Lake of the Ozarks happy.

"The benefit of having a national standard, obviously, is by all statewide, or all nationwide law enforcement officers that work in a marine environment is that is just increases the credibility of the tests, and I think increases your prosecution rate," Lt. Nick Humphrey said.

At this point, the Missouri State Water Patrol is the only water patrol agency in the country that breathalizes boaters while they're on the boat.

The research group plans to look at Missouri's method, then the methods used in other parts of the country, and see what works best.

This research group carries a lot of weight because it's the same group that created the standardized field sobriety test used on roadways all over the country.

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