Crackdown on Impaired Boaters coming to Beltrami County
Beginning June 24 and running through June 26, 2011, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office will participate in the Operation Dry Water program and will be out in force looking for boaters whose Blood Alcohol Content exceeds the state limit of .08%. Operation Dry Water will include increased patrols and breathalyzer tests as well as boater education. Impaired boaters can expect penalties to be severe. In Minnesota they include fines, jail and loss of boating or even driving privileges.
“We intend to stop intoxicated boaters and to educate as many boaters as possible about the hazards of Boating Under the Influence (BUI),” says Deputy Brian Birt, spokesperson for Operation Dry Water.
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 both passengers and boat operators, many of whom capsize their vessel or simply fall overboard.
BUI is a primary contributing factor in nearly 1 in 5 boating fatalities nationwide and Minnesota has 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 percent or higher will find their voyage terminated and may have their watercraft impounded.
Operation Dry Water (ODW), a multi-agency, education and enforcement initiative Operation Dry Water (ODW), a multi-agency, education and enforcement initiative launched by 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 the peak boating season.
"There will be arrests this weekend, and some boaters will face the consequences of boating under the influence," says Deputy Birt. "We want recreational boaters to enjoy themselves, but there will be zero tolerance for BUI.”
Operation Dry Water is a joint program of MN DNR, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and the U.S. Coast Guard and. For more information, visit http://www.operationdrywater.org.