As boaters begin to prepare for the Fourth of July holiday, thousands of law enforcement officers across the United States will be on heightened alert looking for those violating boating under the influence laws. Law enforcement agencies will be focused on educating boaters about safe boating practices, which includes keeping alcohol off the boat for both operators and passengers. The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard, will be participating in the national Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend July 5 through 7.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office is working to increase boater awareness of the dangers and risks associated with boating under the influence and will be on the lookout for impaired boaters. Boaters will notice an overall increase in officer patrols both on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints. The priority during this holiday weekend is to provide boaters with a safe and enjoyable experience by removing dangerous and impaired boaters from the waterways.
“Every year, we see boating accidents and tragedies that could have been avoided, had alcohol or drug use not been a factor. As part of the community ourselves, our job is to ensure that recreational boaters, paddlers and anyone on our waters has a safe place to enjoy time with their family and friends,” said Sgt. Kevin Davis. “Alcohol use can impair a boater’s judgement, balance, vision and reaction time. That is why the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office is joining all other states and U.S. territories to do our part in keeping boaters safe and preventing accidents related to boating under the influence.”
Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to serious injuries and consequences. In California it is illegal to operate a vessel with a BAC level of .08 or higher – the same as it is to operate a vehicle. The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office reminds boaters to always boat sober and wear a life jacket when on the water this year.
Operation Dry Water is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol and drug related accidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water.
Visit operation dry water.org or www.scsdonline.com for more information about boating under the influence.