YAKIMA SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Reserve Sgt. James Scott, (509) 949-0431
Yakima County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol Officers Set to Crackdown On Impaired Boaters
Zero tolerance for operating a boat while under the influence
June 28-29, 2013 - The Yakima County Sheriff’s marine enforcement officers will be out on patrol for the annual Operation Dry Water campaign. Statewide, officers will be out in force June 28, 29 and 30 looking for boat operators that are under the influence of drugs or alcohol (also known as BUI) and whose Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) exceeds the state limit of .08%.
Operation Dry Water will include increased patrols and outreach/education events as well as checking all boat operators for the state required boater education card. Impaired boaters can expect penalties to be severe.
“We plan to stop intoxicated boaters and to educate as many boaters as possible about the hazards of operating a boat while the influence (BUI),” says Sgt. George Town.
A boat operator or passenger with a BAC above the legal limit puts them, their passengers and others on the water at risk of being involved in a boating accident. When impaired by alcohol or drugs, boating accidents are likely, and most are deadly for both passengers and boat operators, many of whom capsize their vessel or simply fall overboard.
The 2012 U.S. Coast Guard's report on recreational boating fatalities, boat operation under the influence is a primary contributing factor in 1; 7 percent of fatalities nationwide. According to State Parks Boating Programs, since 2004, alcohol was a factor in at least 30 percent of the people killed in boating accidents in Washington State, including 5 of the 8 boating deaths so far in 2013. As a result of the high incidence of drunk boating, marine law enforcement agencies around the state including Yakima County are getting tougher on enforcing laws against this high-risk behavior.
"There will be arrests this weekend, and some boaters will face the consequences of boating under the influence," says Sgt. George Town. "We want boaters to enjoy themselves, but there will be zero tolerance for BUI.”
Operation Dry Water is a national multi-agency, education and enforcement initiative
launched in 2009 by state and local marine law enforcement agencies in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, puts thousands of local, state and federal marine law enforcement officers on the water nationwide the last weekend in June to give BUI enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season.
Operation Dry Water is a joint program of state, local and federal agencies coordinated by Washington State Parks and supported by The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.
For more information, visit www.operationdrywater.org.
The Washington State Parks Boating Safety Program is a leader in boating safety and environmental education and outreach, with the purpose of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of Washington waterways, and keeping recreational boating a safe, accessible and enjoyable pastime.
For more information on boating regulations and the Washington Boater Education Card, visit www.boat.wa.gov.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. The association offers a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards and publications. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, NASBLA affects the lives of over 83 million American boaters.