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 boat operators and passengers, many of whom capsize their vessel or simply fall overboard.
BUI is a primary contributing factor in nearly 1 in 5 boating fatalities nationwide. Accordingly the State of Washington and Mason County have 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% or higher will find their voyage terminated and may have their vessel impounded.
Operation Dry Water, a multi-agency, education and enforcement initiative launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (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 BUI enforcement high visibility during peak boating season.
Sheriff Casey Salisbury said “We want recreational boaters in our county to enjoy themselves on our waters, but their will be zero tolerance for BUI.”
Operation Dry Water is a joint program administered by the Washington State Parks Commission, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the U.S Coast Guard and the Washington State Department of Wildlife.