Intoxicated Surfing in Iowa . . . Really?

posted by on Monday, July 07, 2008

In drafting additional content for the GRLLaw website for boating while intoxicated we came across an interesting little statute still in full force and effect in the State of Iowa.

Iowa Code section 462A.12(2) prohibits any individuals in the State of Iowa from "manipulating" any "water skis, surfboard or similar device while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, marijuana, a narcotic, hypnotic or other drug, or a combination of these substances." A violation of this law is a simple misdemeanor. (see http://www.grllaw.com/CM/Custom/misdemeanor.asp.)

While one can understand how watersking or wakeboarding while intoxicated can be considered a hazardous activity and one that should possibly be made illegal, aren't we taking it a little too far to make it illegal to be on a surfboard while in such a condition. First, there have yet to be any documented "surfable" waves in the State of Iowa. Second, if one is in the water while in an intoxicated condition (whether by alcohol or marijuana or other drug) the safest place would probably be on a surfboard or other similar floatation device. Should we make swimming while intoxicated illegal as well? Actually we have. Ultimately, being in a public place such as a public waterway while intoxicated is a crime in and of itself (see http://www.grllaw.com/CM/Custom/Pulic-Intoxication-Iowa.asp) which leads one to wonder why in the world our Legislature thought it necessary to spend time creating a law specifically saying that it is illegal to be floating on the water while in an intoxicated condition. As if somehow a waterway open to the public could be considered private? Can our state legislatures please find something more important to do?! Get to work fellahs (and ladies) we have an economy in the tank right now.

Sometimes a lighter sided rant is necessary. Just some food for thought and a little bit of useless trivia.