Law enforcement agencies to conduct on-the-water emphasis patrols Friday and Saturday

June 26, 2014

By Staff

NEW — 6 a.m. June 26, 2014

Law enforcement agencies in Washington state will participate in a national special emphasis campaign to target people who are operating boats while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

The Operation Dry Water campaign and emphasis patrols are June 27-29 throughout Washington and will focus on preventing injury and death in accidents resulting from boating under the influence.

The program is aimed at raising awareness of the problem and getting impaired boat operators off the water by actively enforcing the law that prohibits using alcohol and drugs while operating a boat, according to a news release from the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

Between 2004 and 2013, at least 64 people died in Washington state boating accidents where alcohol use was a contributing factor, according to the Washington State Parks Boating Program.

Recent U.S. Coast Guard statistics report that boating under the influence is still the leading factor in fatal boating accidents, with 17 percent of boating fatalities being a direct result of alcohol use by the operator.

Boat operators may be cited if their blood alcohol concentration exceeds the state limit of .08 percent. Thirty Washington state, county and city marine law enforcement agencies are signed on for the effort.

The first BUI special emphasis was launched in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.

During a June 2013 campaign, 169 Washington marine law enforcement officers made contact with 3,908 recreational boaters and issued 1,364 boating safety warnings, six BUI citations and 219 citations for other violations.

Learn more about the national Operation Dry Water campaign here.

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