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Recreational boating fatalities last year jumped to their highest levels since 1998 and boating under the influence (BUI) was the leading contributing factor, according to the U.S. Coast Guard's report, 2011 Recreational Boating Statistics. The report comes just weeks before Okanogan County Sheriff's Office participates in the national Operation Dry Water 2012 campaign. This nationwide campaign focuses on enforcement of BUI laws and education all boaters to the risks of operating a boat under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Officers will be out in force June 22, 23, and 24 looking for boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the State limit of .08. Impaired boaters may expect penalties that include fines and jail time.
"We intend to arrest intoxicated boaters and to educate as many boaters as possible about the dangers of boating under the influence," says Sheriff Frank Rogers. "Boating is a safe and enjoyable pastime when people stay alert and follow the rules. We want boaters to understand the added risks associated with BUI and to avoid drinking and boating," added Rogers.
Operation Dry Water 2012 is a joint program of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Boating Programs, and local law enforcement officers from around the state.
For more information on the campaign, visit www.operationdrywater.org. For more information on boating in Washington, visit www.boat.wa.gov.
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