1. Does this boating safety campaign ban alcohol on boats?
No. Designated Operator is a totally voluntary awareness program for boat operators. Its sole purpose is to persuade boat operators to voluntarily refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages or ingest substances that may impair his or her ability to safely operator a boat.
2. Does this mean passengers on board a boat can’t drink alcohol either?
No. Designated Operator does not prohibit non-operating passengers on a boat to drink. It only applies to the person who is responsible for operating the boat on that particular day.
3. If I’m the Designated Operator for the day, and wearing a Designated Operator wrist band, does that mean I will not be stopped by law enforcement and checked for an OUI?
No. Wearing a Designated Operator wrist band is not a free pass. You will still be subject to a routine OUI check, but those with wrist bands and sober will be commended by officers for participating in the program and promptly sent on their way to continue an enjoyable and safe day on-the-water.
4. If I rent a boat or PWC and receive an OUI citation, what may happen?
First, you will be subject to possible penalties as prescribed by law for that offense. Secondly, the rental company may also impose additional financial penalties as well (possible automatic forfeiture of your rental deposit). Check with your rental company regarding their policy about operator OUIs.
5. How do I get a Designated Operator wrist band?
Wrist bands are distributed in a number of different ways. Some launch ramps will be passing them out to those operators agreeing to remain sober for the day prior to launching. The same is true for specific on-water restaurants and bars. In fact, if you are wearing a Designated Operator wrist band, certain establishments will provide complimentary non-alcoholic beverages for you that day. In addition, some water patrol agencies will pass-out wrist bands to sober boat operators following routine OUI checks.