Coast Guard will step up boating under the influence patrols

Coast Guard will step up boating under the influence patrols

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The Coast Guard will step up patrols next week as part of "Operation Dry Water." — File photo by Ralph Stewart

The Coast Guard is gearing up to crack down on drunk boaters as part of a national campaign, “Operation Dry Water,” over the weekend of June 28, and Station Menemsha in Chilmark will participate in the effort.

It is part of a nationally coordinated effort to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities related to boating under the influence (BUI), Senior Chief Jason Olsen, Officer in Charge, Station Menemsha, told The Times. “The mission of Operation Dry Water also brings awareness and education to recreational boaters about the dangers of alcohol and drug use on the water,” Chief Olsen said in a press release.

During Operation Dry Water officers will be out in force looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds the state/Federal limit of .08. The enforcement effort will include increased patrols, and breathalyzer tests as well as boater education. “Impaired boaters can expect to be arrested or face other serious penalties,” according to a press release. The consequences for BUI include fines, jail, and loss of boating or even driving privileges.

“We are dedicated to keeping boaters safe on our waters. Boating is a safe and enjoyable pastime when people stay alert and follow the rules,” Senior Chief Olsen, said. “You will see our officers out on the water looking for boaters who are operating a vessel under the influence.”

Alcohol is the primary contributing factor in recreational boating fatalities, according to Coast Guard data. For more information, visit operationdrywater.org.