Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer is here! Boat safe and boat sober.

by Joy Spencer

The warm weather has finally arrived and Oregonians will be heading to the river for fun. Please remember that alcohol and boating can be a dangerous combination.

Alcohol is involved in approximately 30 percent of boating fatalities in Oregon each year, 50-70 percent nationwide.

Oregon's BUII laws apply to motorized and non-motorized watercraft alike. Remember, in a raft, everyone with a paddle is an operator.

All 48 mainland states now have a legal limit of 0.08% BAC to be considered "Under the Influence". A drug or alcohol impaired boat operator who is arrested for Boating Under the Influence of Intoxicants (BUII) faces the following:

  • could face fines of up to $6,250 and up to a year in jail
  • must complete a boating safety class
  • lose his or her boat operation privileges for a period of time
  • have boat registrations suspended for up to three years
While BUII laws pertain to boat operators, a recent study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that an intoxicated passenger is as likely to die as an intoxicated operator.

Many boaters think of collisions as the greatest threat when drinking on the water. According to BOAT/U.S. Foundation for Boating Safety, an estimated 75 percent of alcohol-related boating accidents and injuries do not involve collisions.

Most fatalities occur from falls overboard, not collisions. Alcohol makes it harder to control the gasping reflex that occurs involuntarily when the face or upper body is suddenly immersed in cold water. An intoxicated person is more likely to inhale water into the lungs when plunged suddenly into cold water.

Alcohol affects balance, vision, coordination and judgment. Environmental factors that come with boating - such as wind, sun, noise and motion - can magnify the effects of alcohol and accelerate impairment. Research shows that as little as four hours of exposure to sun, wind, glare, vibration and other motion on the water produces "boater's hypnosis," a kind of fatigue that slows reaction time almost as much as if a person were drunk.

For more information, contact the Oregon State Marine Board.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Graduation time calls for alcohol awareness

by Joy Spencer

Graduation should be a happy time, and a time to celebrate the accomplishments of students. Many families commemorate graduation with parties, outings, and other celebrations.

Here are a few tips for parents and guardians to help keep their teens safe during graduation season:

  • Set clear expectations about not drinking alcohol. Establish rules and follow through with the consequences.

  • Talk about drinking and drug use with your teen as well as other parents.

  • Talk about how making bad choices, like using drugs or alcohol, could change their lives forever.

  • Organize fun alternatives such as an alcohol and drug-free graduation party.

  • Be involved - ask who they will be with, how you can reach them, where they will be and at what times.

  • Lead by example. Teens learn by watching, interacting, and listening to you – live a healthy lifestyle for you and your kids.

“Parental disapproval is still a leading reason why kids choose not to drink,” said Rudy Williams, OLCC Deputy Director. “Talk to your children about how one bad choice could quickly lead to tragedy. A few moments now could save a lifetime.”
Parents planning a party for their child’s friends should make sure the festivities are alcohol-free. Not only is furnishing alcohol a crime, but you could also be held liable for any damages, injuries or deaths caused by the minor(s) you gave alcohol.
For more information and resources on alcohol and minors visit our website:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Planning a wedding?

by Joy Spencer

Do your wedding celebration plans include serving alcohol to your guests? This short blog should help you determine if you need a liquor license for your Big Day.

You do not need a liquor license if you will be serving alcohol, but are not accepting payment or donations* for it. *Donations for the bride and groom (money tree, cash gifts, money dance) are okay of course!

You will need a liquor license if you will be serving alcohol to your guests who will pay or donate money for their drinks. Click here for information on licensing your event. Special events are licensed through your local OLCC field office.

If you are using a caterer, make sure that they have a liquor license if your guests will be paying for their alcoholic beverages.

A note about Liquor Liability Insurance - This is not required by the OLCC for events that do not need a liquor license. However, if your wedding or reception site requires Liquor Liability Insurance - and many do -- contact your personal insurance agent. There are also many companies that offer stand-alone policies. A quick internet search can provide you with options.