Popular Boise River Floating Activity Could Cost You Big Money
We look forward to it every year. My family will drop off one car at Ann Morrison Park and then pile in another to go to Barber Park. With our air compressor and deflated floaties in the trunk, we park, put on our sunscreen, fill the inflatables with air, and walk toward the Boise River.
Floating the river is a weekly activity for some people in the Boise area. After you do it once, it's easy to see why so many people make it a regular part of their summer. While most behave themselves, you will see several river floaters that don't follow the city and county's rules. The most common rule broken is the one that could get you the most expensive fine.
A partnership between Ada County Parks and Waterways, Boise Parks and Recreation, and the Boise Fire Department maintains the Boise River floating experience. Their website is full of guidelines for staying safe while floating in the river. You'll see statements like "Be sure everyone has a lifejacket," "Don't tie your rafts together," and "Be aware of heat exhaustion." But there is only one statement that uses the word "illegal."
Drinking alcohol on the river is illegal. You wouldn't know it by being on the river because so many people drink there. But what are the consequences of participating in this unlawful activity? That may be the reason no one cares about the law. While the city and county have outlawed alcohol, they don't know the punishment.
Theoretically, you could be given an open container violation, which is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine according to Section 23-505 of the Idaho State Code, which has been applied to vehicles, including boats. Still, we had to find that on our own. When we called all three agencies overseeing the float, they seemed uncertain about the punishment, which means that they rarely enforce this.