COLUMBUS, Ga. – A Georgia lawmaker is working to revise the current state law of boating under the influence. District 12 Representative Eddie Lumsden (R, GA) sponsors House Bill 172, which would exclude inner tubes and other inflatable homemade devices from being classified as crafts under the current law.
Violaters of the boating under the influence law currently face fines up to $10,000 and the loss of their license.
“That seems to be a pretty extreme punishment for someone having four beers and floating on an inner tube minding their own business,” Lumsden told News 3.
Even if the bill becomes a law, Whitewater Express owner Dan Gilbert says the new change won’t alter the way the business is run.
“This is a whitewater river,” Gilbert said. “And we’re governed by TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority), US Forrest Service and Uptown Columbus, LLC. Those are our managing agencies. They don’t allow alcohol on the river.”
Whitewater Express guides expressed the same amount of concern. They are trained not to serve intoxicated or inebriated customers. News 3 spoke with a few guides who say the consequences of not maintaining all of one’s faculties while in the river could be dire.
“They go out and hurt themselves or hurt someone else, it just would really mess up this whole thing we’ve got going on out here,” Blake Lorentz said.
“Out here, you don’t need to be intoxicated, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing,” Jordan Goodman said. “You can end up in some trouble and situations you don’t want to be in.”
According to Lumsden, his changes would put too much of a burden on people who are simply operating equipment driven by their own limbs. While the concern looms over safety, Lumsden’s bill is focused on lessening the strain for some people.