On the evening of August 2, 2008, two best friends went out boating in Chesapeake, Virginia (VA), on the Elizabeth River. Only one man came back.

Two years later Kurt J. Riffey stood before the court and was convicted of boating while intoxicated and involuntary manslaughter for a crash that killed his best friend. The judge sentenced Riffey on Monday to a year in jail, with alcohol counseling, and a $350 fine. He suspended 10 years’ imprisonment and his boating privileges indefinitely, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

You were a drunken guided missile on that river that night,” Judge Forehand told Riffey.

Virginia law prohibits anyone from boating while intoxicated (BWI). That is, it is illegal to operate any boat, sailboat or personal watercraft or to manipulate any water skis, sailboard or similar device while intoxicated due to alcohol or any combination of alcohol, controlled substance or drugs. Alcohol and drugs cause impaired balance, blurred vision, poor coordination, impaired judgment and slower reaction times. Alcohol is a major contributor to boating accidents and fatalities.

Our condolences go out to his family who are no doubt still grieving the loss of their son especially during this holiday season. It just goes to show that when you get behind the wheel of a car, or even a boat while intoxicated, you are putting your life and the lives of others at risk.