As boaters begin to prepare for the 4th 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 Douglas 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 – 7, 2019).
The Douglas 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 marine patrols on the water and land. 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.
“Alcohol use can impair a boater’s judgement, balance, vision and reaction time. That is why the Sheriff’s Office is joining all 56 states and U.S. territories to do our part in keeping boaters safe and preventing accidents related to boating under the influence.”, said Sergeant Brad O’Dell.
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. Oregon’s laws for driving and boating under the influence of intoxicants (DUII and BUII) are generally similar. Unlike driving laws, however, Oregon boating laws allow open containers of alcohol in boats, and boat operators are allowed to consume alcohol. Like vehicle drivers, though, the “legal limit” is 0.08% blood alcohol content and boat operators must not be impaired to a perceptible degree. BUII laws are enforceable on any public waterway and pertain to any kind of boat, including motor boats, rafts, kayaks, and other paddle craft.
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.