Colorado State Parks joins crackdown on alcohol-impaired boaters |

Colorado State Parks joins crackdown on alcohol-impaired boaters

Daily News staff report

This weekend, boaters on the Arkansas River and other Colorado State Parks waters could see marine law-enforcement officers from State Parks out and about, enforcing an initiative called “Operation Dry Water,” which entails looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent.

“Operation Dry Water” is a national campaign that includes increased patrols and checkpoints as well as boater education and outreach. It also can mean severe penalties for being found boating under the influence, such as being fined, jailed or losing boating privileges.

According to info from Colorado State Parks, a boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit runs a significantly increased risk of being involved in a boating accident. When the boat operator is impaired by alcohol, boating accidents are more likely and more deadly for both passengers and boat operators, many of whom capsize their vessel or fall overboard.

BUI is a primary contributing factor in nearly one-fifth of boating fatalities nationwide, a state parks news release stated.

“Operation Dry Water” is a multi-agency, education and enforcement initiative launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in 2009 in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard. It 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 the peak boating season.

“There will be arrests this weekend, and some boaters will face the consequences of boating under the influence,” said Colorado State Parks investigator Kris Wahlers. “We want recreational boaters to enjoy themselves, but there will be zero tolerance for BUI.”

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