Drunk boaters a concern as holiday approaches

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As drivers hit the road and boaters hit the water this holiday weekend, authorities are reminding people to not drink and drive.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol and other agencies will launch an initiative Tuesday morning in Wrightsville Beach to get the word out about impaired driving and boating.

Currently, agencies can only charge an impaired boater with a misdemeanor.

A new bill, unanimously passed by the state House last week, would create felony charges in cases involving death or serious injury.

The law is named after 17-year-old Sheyenne Marshall who died last year.

She was on Lake Norman on a kneeboard when she was struck by a passing boat.

Authorities said the driver of that boat was impaired.

Her father pushed lawmakers to take action after he found out about the current law.

With the new felony charge, the bill would create a stricter penalty – up to 8 years in prison.

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