Campaign aims to reduce alcohol/drug-related incidents on Yakima waters

Image credit: Washington State Department of Ecology

YAKIMA, Wash. — Sipping a White Claw on a sunny Fourth of July boating trip may sound like a great idea in theory, but in practice, the combination of boating and drinking can be very dangerous. That’s why authorities from the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office are kicking off Operation Dry Water from July 2 to July 4.

The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Division is putting together an initiative to prevent drug and alcohol-related incidents on the water this Fourth of July. Local authorities will be patrolling the waters to find impaired boaters operating their vessels in an unsafe manner,

Patrol teams will conduct boat safety inspections to ensure that boaters have operational life jackets and other necessary equipment. Please keep in mind that Boater Education Cards are required for anyone (Age 14+) intending to operate watercraft.

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Operation Dry Water is a national campaign set on keeping boaters safe that will be enforced by agencies from all 56 U.S. states, trusts and territories. It’s coordinated in a joint effort between the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), the U.S. Coast Guard, local, state, and federal law enforcement.

Since the effort began in 2009, over 1.8 million boaters have been contacted including 4,720 operators removed for boating under the influence (BUI). Across all of the territories, 37,325 citations and warnings were issued for safety violations and 625 people were arrested.

Data compiled by the U.S. Coast Guard in 2019 suggests that boating under the influence was the single most consistent factor associated with recreational boater deaths.

In Yakima County, law enforcement officials are taking this very seriously. If you plan on boating during the Fourth of July weekend, be sure to follow proper safety procedures; and if you intend to drink, do so responsibly.


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