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Law enforcement ensures safety on Lake Norman

Motorists weren’t the only ones being watched by law enforcement during the Memorial Day weekend.
Law enforcement also kept watch over the waters of Lake Norman to ensure safety during the weekend.
The Lincoln County Sherriff’s Office (LCSO), the state Department of Health and Human Services, Coast Guard Auxiliary, wildlife officers and the lake patrol were out at Beatty Ford Access Saturday afternoon for the “Booze It and Lose It” campaign.
According to Sgt. Mark Eaker with the LCSO, it was a “one-stop” operation that tested for boaters who may be operating craft while impaired.
“We had five to seven units patrolling the water,” said Eaker.
If a boater is suspected of drinking, that boater is brought ashore and given a forensic test for alcohol.
That test is given in what is called the Breath Alcohol Testing (BAT) mobile unit according to Tonya Skinner, BAT coordinator.
“Inside, there are three units that have been in operation with this unit since 1996,” said Skinner. “Once the officer enters data, the test begins.”
After a 15 minute waiting period, the suspected drunk boater takes two BAT tests. The lesser of the two results are taken.
If the boater is found to be over the legal limit of .08 – the same limit set for automobile drivers – then a magistrate is on hand to determine probable cause.
Dee Dee Martin was the magistrate on hand Saturday and said it doesn’t matter what type of boat is being driven.
“According to the law, if a boater is found to be over the legal limit and there is probable cause, they will be taken to the Lincoln County Jail.”
by Staff Reports

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