Boating-under-the influence patrols out this weekend

SEATTLE — Coast Guard and local law enforcement officers will participate in Operation Dry Water today through Sunday in a joint effort against boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

During the operation, Coast Guard members and local law enforcement throughout the Pacific Northwest will focus on detecting impaired boaters and educating the public about the dangers of boating under the influence.

Piloting a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher is against federal and state law. Boaters caught operating under the influence will have their voyage terminated and their vessel impounded. Additionally, penalties can include arrest, fines and loss of boating or driving privileges.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators launched Operation Dry Water in 2009 in partnership with the Coast Guard.

Boating under the influence has become the leading contributing factor in fatal recreational boating wrecks, according to the Coast Guard.

“Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time as well as increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion,” the agency said in a press release.

In 2019, 736 local, state and federal agencies participated in the operation. Over the three-day weekend, law enforcement contacted 271,286 boaters, made 563 boating under the influence (BUI) arrests, and issued 34,976 citations and warnings for safety violations.

For more information on Operation Dry Water, see operationdrywater.org.

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