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Intoxicated sailing bill approved by Senate

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Senate has voted to close a legal loophole that exempts sailboat operators from laws on boating under the influence of alcohol.

The Senate voted 37-8 on Friday for the bill, which now goes to the House of Delegates.

Maryland laws on boating under the influence are similar to ones related to driving a motor vehicle. For example, a blood alcohol content of .08 is the legal limit. But a change in the law in 2010 that exempted rafting and kayaking also ended up exempting people who operate sailboats

Sen. Richard Colburn, R-Dorchester, questioned who ultimately would be charged, because a variety of people can participate in operating a sailboat.

Sen. James Brochin, D-Baltimore County, says the person at the tiller would be ultimately responsible.