If you want to relax on the water this Independence Day, then you’ll want to explore the beautiful waters of Lake Norman. Located just 20 miles from Charlotte, North Carolina, Lake Norman is filled with activities and community events that will make your holiday celebration the best you’ve ever had.
Many marinas are available offering boat launches, slips, rentals, storage, repairs, and fuel. There are no speed limits or horsepower rules on the lake, so you can enjoy the day on your sailboat or crank up your power boat. You’ll catch people on pontoons, bass boats, and the occasional splash from a paddle boat.
No matter what kind of day you plan to spend on the water this July 4th, you should be prepared for some strong consequences if you get slapped with a BUI.
What’s the Fine for a BUI?
Just like a DUI, the penalty for boating under the influence (BUI) is steep. If you get caught behind the wheel of a boat while intoxicated, you better be prepared to pay the penalty. Since the signing of Sheyenne’s Law, the penalty for a BUI in North Carolina went from a misdemeanor to a felony.
In July 2015, 17-year-old Sheyenne Marshall was enjoying the day knee-boarding on the water. Her life tragically ended when an impaired boater struck and killed her. At the time of her death, impaired boating was considered a misdemeanor, but thanks to her family’s push to raise awareness of the serious of boating while intoxicated or under the influence, the penalty is now a felony under Sheyenne’s Law.
A Memorable Day on Lake Norman
Before putting your boat in the water this year, you should consider some things that will help make the day safe and enjoyable while boating on Lake Norman:
- Know the Laws: You should know the laws of the lake up front to avoid a heavy penalty for lack of knowledge. Learn more via the Best of Lake Norman.
- Wear a Life Jacket: No matter how well you can swim, always wear a life jacket that properly fits while on a boat or Jet Ski.
- Navigation Lights: You’re required to have proper navigation lights on your boat if you plan to be on the water at dusk, night, or the early morning hours.
- Know the Weather: Before embarking, know the current and upcoming weather conditions. You don’t want to get caught in the middle of the lake during a storm.
- Practice Common Sense: When you’re driving your car, you obey speed limits, and you watch for other cars and people. While on the lake, watch out for other boats and people in the water. Be courteous and don’t speed through wake zones or other areas of danger.
- Leave the Alcohol Out of the Boat: We already talked about the fines you’ll be slapped with if you’re caught driving under the influence, so for the safety of yourself and others, stay alert and leave the alcohol out of the boat. If you choose to bring alcohol, be sure to practice safe boating.