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Randy Appleton
Randy Appleton
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New North Carolina Bill Would Make Drunk Boating a Felony

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The North Carolina House earlier this summer passed a bill that would increase drunk boating penalties to the same as drunk driving. 

The bill is being called Sheyenne’s Law, which is named after a 17 year old girl who was killed in 2015 by a drunk boater on Lake Norman in North Carolina.


A BAC of as little as .05 increase accident risks, according to reviews of traffic accident reports done for the NHTSA.

According to the sponsor of the bill, Larry Pittman, a drunk boater swerved to miss another boat and hit the girl, killing her instantly. In the aftermath of her death, her family asked for Pittman’s help to change sentencing laws regarding drunk boating in the state.

Current law states that boating while drunk is a misdemeanor. Under the new law, impaired boaters who cause serious injury or death would be charged with a felony. Several factors would influence how the convicted drunk boater would be sentenced, but the person would face more jail time for certain.

Our View

Our Virginia and North Carolina drunk driving/boating attorneys are pleased to see that North Carolina may increase the penalties for drunk boating. Our drunk driving attorneys know well the devastating effects that people under the influence of drugs and alcohol have on innocent people. We have represented many devastated families whose loved ones were injured or killed by drunk drivers and boaters. 

Please review our Boating Accident Injury Guide if you have been hurt in a boating accident in North Carolina or Virginia. Let us know if you have questions.