OLYMPIA – Washington marine law enforcement agencies will participate in a national special emphasis campaign June 25, 26 and 27, to cite people who are operating boats while under the influence of alcohol. The effort, called Operation Dry Water, is focused on preventing injury and death in accidents resulting from people using alcohol while operating boats – also known as BUI.
According to Washington State Parks Boating Programs, between 2004 and 2009, at least 45 people were killed in reportable boating accidents where alcohol use was a contributing factor. The planned weekend focus is aimed at raising awareness of the problem and getting impaired boat operators off the water by actively enforcing the law that prohibits using alcohol and drugs while operating a boat.
The Washington state emphasis is supported by the state Boating Programs, administered by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. All 56 states, trusts and territories of the U.S. are expected to participate in the emphasis. Boat operators may be cited if their blood alcohol concentration exceeds the state limit of .08. Currently, 15 Washington marine law enforcement agencies are signed on for the effort. The first BUI special emphasis was launched in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.
During the June 2009 campaign, 2,442 marine law enforcement officers made contact with 17,454 recreational vessels and issued 5,320 boating safety warnings, 283 BUI citations and 1,127 citations for other violations. A total of 46 states and 5 territories participated.