Josephine County Marine Deputies Set to Crack Down On Impaired Boaters
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When: June 24-26
Where: Nationwide

Field Sobriety Test Newly Validated for Use on the Water

Grants Pass, OR — Josephine County marine deputies will participate in the Operation Dry Water and will be out in force June 24-26 looking for boaters whose Blood Alcohol Content exceeds the state limit of .08%. Operation Dry Water will include increased patrols and breathalyzer tests as well as boater education. Impaired boaters can expect penalties to be severe. In Oregon, they include fines of up to $6,250, up to one year in jail, and loss of boating privileges.

"We intend to stop intoxicated boaters and to educate as many boaters as possible about the hazards of Boating Under the Influence of Intoxicants (BUII)," says Marine Deputy Ernie Fields.

A boat operator or passenger with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit runs a significantly increased risk of being involved in a boating accident. When impaired by alcohol, boating accidents are more likely and more deadly for both passengers and boat operators, many of whom capsize their vessel or simply fall overboard.

BUII is involved in approximately 30 percent of boating fatalities in Oregon each year, and Oregon has gotten tougher in recent years in enforcing laws against this high-risk behavior. Boaters found operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher will find their voyage terminated and may have their vessel impounded.

Operation Dry Water (ODW), a multi-agency education and enforcement initiative launched by NASBLA in 2009 in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, puts thousands of local, state and federal marine law enforcement officers on the water nationwide the last weekend in June to give BUII enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season.

"There will be arrests this weekend, and some boaters will face the consequences of boating under the influence," says Fields. “We want recreational boaters to enjoy themselves, but there will be zero tolerance for BUII."

Operation Dry Water is a joint program of the Oregon State Marine Board, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the U.S. Coast Guard, and local county marine patrols. For more information, visit www.operationdrywater.org.

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he National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. NASBLA offers a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards and publications. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers,NASBLA affects the lives of over 83 million American boaters.

The United States Coast Guard is a military, multi-mission, maritime service within the Department of Homeland Security and one of the nation's five armed services. Its core roles are to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America's coasts, ports, and inland waterways.

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