Boaters Against Drunk Driving (BADD) is an anti-drinking and boating advocacy group that was founded in 1989 by Jim Carlin, a former law enforcement officer. Carlin is an avid boater, and after personally observing the seriousness of intoxicated boaters and the injuries, deaths, and property damage associated with such behavior, he founded BADD.
BADD is based in Battle Creek, Michigan and currently has chapters in 38 states. Since its inception, BADD has been dedicated to promoting the objectives of safe, sober, and responsible boating and public awareness. The association’s mottos are “Boat Smart. Boat Safe. Wear It!” and “Always Wear Your Life Jacket!”
The group advocates that boaters complete an approved basic boating safety course before they set sail for the first time. It also highly recommends that everyone in a boat wear life jackets while away from land.
For many years now, there has been a law restricting the national blood alcohol level for all people operating a motor vehicle on any road in the country to 0.08%. BADD has been working to make the same law applicable to watercraft operators in marine environments for over a decade. Thanks in part to BADD’s efforts, about 40 states have implemented a 0.08% blood alcohol level maximum for their waterways. More states are expected to follow suit.
BADD has also recently implemented a project called the “Lighthouse of Law.” Under this project, the organization monitors hundreds of cases of BUI, many of which involve the death of one or more victims. BADD plans to follow these cases through the judicial process and verify the progress and dispositions of the cases for the conviction and sentencing of the offenders. After a case is concluded, BADD will publish the results with the hopes of showing the boating community and the general public that boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a very serious crime with real consequences.