Campaign targets boating under the influence July 2 - 4
OLYMPIA – June 23, 2021 – As boaters prepare for the Fourth of July holiday, law enforcement agencies are preparing for Operation Dry Water — a nationally coordinated effort that focuses on boating-under-the-influence (BUI) awareness and enforcement. Boaters will notice an increase in patrols July 2- 4, across Washington state.
The Washington State Parks Boating Program, safety advocates and law enforcement agencies are asking boaters to help keep everyone safe by not consuming alcohol or marijuana while out on the water — especially when operating a boat or paddlecraft.
“Operating any vehicle or vessel under the influence is illegal and unsafe,” said Matt Stowers, Marine Law Enforcement coordinator for the Boating Program. “However, it’s arguably more dangerous on the water. Research shows it takes less alcohol to impair you on the water than it does on land — one beer on land equals three beers on the water.”
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, boating under the influence is the leading known contributing factor in fatal recreational boating accidents.
In Washington state, it’s illegal to use any substance that impairs a person’s ability to operate a boat. The law applies to all boats, including kayaks, canoes, rowboats, stand-up paddleboards, and inflatable fishing rafts. Some key things for boaters to know:
- State law allows law enforcement officers to require boaters suspected of operating a boat while intoxicated to submit to a breath or blood test.
- Refusing to submit to a test is a civil infraction with a maximum fine of $2,050.
- The penalty for operating a boat under the influence is a gross misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and 364 days in jail.
- Additionally, a BUI is considered a prior offense if there are later convictions for driving under the influence (DUI).
Boaters can learn more about BUI laws in Washington State and about the risks of boating under the influence by visiting boatsober.org.
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#NeverBUI, #opdrywater, #operationdrywater, #BoatSafeBoatSober, #BoatSober, #designatedskipper
About Operation Dry Water
Operation Dry Water is a national awareness and enforcement campaign focused on reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related boating accidents and fatalities. As part of the campaign, emphasis patrols are conducted annually on and around the Fourth of July. The holiday is known for increased boating activities and use of alcohol, during which law enforcement sees an increase in the number of boating accidents and fatalities. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) coordinates Operation Dry Water in partnership with the Coast Guard, safety educators and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
About the Washington State Parks Boating Program
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission administers the state’s Boating Program, which provides leadership in recreational boating safety and environmental education and outreach. The goal of the program is to reduce accidents and fatalities, increase stewardship of Washington waterways, and keep recreational boating a safe, accessible and enjoyable pastime. For more information on the Boating Program, visit www.parks.wa.gov/boating.
News media contacts:
Christina Fremont, (360) 902-8837
Toni Droscher, (360) 902-8604
About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.