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 Colorado marine law enforcement officers participate in the Operation Dry Water 2012, an annual nationwide campaign focused on enforcement of BUI laws and educating all boaters to the risks of operating a boat under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Officers will be out in force this weekend, looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08. Operation Dry Water will include increased and focused patrols, checkpoints, as well as boater education. Impaired boaters can expect penalties to be severe. In Colorado, the consequences for BUI include fines, jail time, court-ordered volunteer service, impoundment of the boat, mandatory boating safety education and even loss of boating privileges.