State Parks Boating Program reminds boaters to stay sober while boating
OLYMPIA – June 20, 2019 – The Washington State Parks Boating Program, safety advocates and law enforcement agencies are asking boaters to help keep everyone safe on the water by not consuming alcohol or marijuana when operating a boat or paddlecraft.
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 across Washington from July 5 through 7, as federal, state and local marine law enforcement will intensify efforts to detect and remove dangerous and impaired boaters from the waterways.
“Every year we see boating accidents and tragedies that could have been avoided by staying sober,” said Rob Sendak, State Parks Boating Law Administrator. “Boaters have a choice to choose safety first, and stay sober. At a minimum, they should designate a sober skipper.”
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, boating under the influence is the leading-known factor in fatal recreational boating accidents.
In Washington state, it is 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 and inflatable fishing rafts. State law allows law enforcement officers to require suspected intoxicated boaters 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 near the Fourth of July, a holiday 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.
News release number: 19-046