FWC adds breathalyzers to crack down on intoxicated boaters

FWC Breathalyzers

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - “You see people driving up and down the waterway with wide open beers and drinks and all kinds of alcohol in the boat,” said Art Conforti.

Conforti is a Sarasota resident and owner of Docklife USA. He is happy to hear that the Florida Wildlife Commission will now have breathalyzers on their boats. He says he’s seen very close calls with drunk boaters.

“It should be no different than other vehicle you drive under the influence, I think it’s a great idea," said Conforti. "It’s going to be safer for everyone because people should be aware.”

FWC says last year alone there were 38 boating accidents in the Southwest Region of Florida. They tell us this alcohol tester will now give them another tool to document boaters who are arrested for Boating Under the Influence.

Cory Crouch is with the Siesta Key Marina. He’s a former police officer who now spends a lot of time out on the water, telling us he sees many boaters riding recklessly.

“It’s going to show people, ‘Hey we’re out here, we have these tools and if you want to break the law and overdo it,’" said Crouch. "'We now have the instruments to test you immediately instead of waiting an hour or two before they can get you to the jail and process you.'”

Some other boaters who did not want to appear on camera feel differently saying this is going too far and that boaters should have a lot more freedom.

Crouch has this advice for people who want to have fun and stay safe on the water:

“We always designate a friend to drive, hire a captain, take a private trip, said Crouch. "There’s no reason to endanger your life and especially the lives of others.”

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