Boaters advised not to drink and kayak on Kiski River

Updated 40 minutes ago

A Kiski Valley canoe and kayak vendor is advising boaters to be responsible, now that the state Fish & Boat Commission is patrolling the Kiski River for those operating watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances.

The River’s Edge Canoe & Kayak, in Gilpin, issued the advisory on its Facebook page.

Richard Matusiak, shift manager at the business, said boating under the influence hasn’t been an issue this summer.

River’s Edge put a notice on its website earlier this year forbidding alcohol in shuttle vans or any of its rented boats or equipment, he said, and since then, problems have “decreased considerably.”

Matusiak said they used to have several incidents per summer, but haven’t had a single problem this year.

The Kiski is very popular for paddling, and waterways conservation officers patrol it on a regular basis, said Rick Levis, a spokesman for the Fish & Boat Commission.

Matusiak said that allowing boaters to drink puts then at risk of drowning, and that the safety of its customers is a top concern for River’s Edge.

“If we saw them drinking we would discourage them from drinking, and if they continued we’d discourage them from coming back,” Matusiak said.

According to the Fish & and Boat Commission, alcohol was a contributing factor in six of the 11 fatal boating accidents that occurred in the state during 2016.

The blood alcohol limit for boating under the influence is the same as for driving, 0.08 percent, and applies whether a boat is powered or unpowered, such as kayaks and canoes.

As of June 27, conservation officers had arrested 14 people for boating under the influence. In 2016, 90 were arrested statewide, including 18 in the 10-county southwest region, according to the Fish & Boat Commission.

The penalties for a first offense are six months probation, a $300 fine and requirement to take a…

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