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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 16, 2017
OUTDOORS

Iowa DNR conducting special boating while intoxicated enforcement project

Jun 30, 2017

DES MOINES – As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officers will be focusing on keeping boaters safe by cracking down on boating under the influence.

The DNR will be conducting heightened awareness and enforcement of boating-under-the-influence laws as part of the national Operation Dry Water campaign in hopes to decrease the number of crashes and deaths.

From today through Sunday, law enforcement nationwide will be looking for impaired boaters as part of Operation Dry Water weekend. Boaters will notice an increase in the numbers of officers on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints.

This effort will result in the removal of impaired operators, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for boaters this boating season.

“As a part of the community ourselves, we want to ensure that recreational boaters, paddlers, and anyone enjoying our waters have a safe place to spend their time on the water,” said Jeff Swearngin, DNR’s law enforcement bureau chief. “Alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time on the water just as is does when driving a car, even more so because of the added stressors of sun, heat, wind, and noise on a boat. Choosing to consume alcohol while boating puts everyone at risk, including passengers and people in the water. Our goal is to remove anyone choosing to operate a vessel impaired and to keep everyone else safe.”

Tips to staying safe on the water this summer:

• Boat sober. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths according to 2015 U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics.

. Alcohol and drugs use impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.

• Wear your life jacket. Eighty-five percent of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket according to 2015 U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics.

• Take a boating safety education course. Seventy-one percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction, where instruction was known according to 2015 U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics.

Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to serious injuries and consequences. In Iowa, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a BAC level of .08 or higher – the same as it is to operate a vehicle. If a person is found to be impaired and operating a boat, he or she will be arrested.

 

By the numbers in 2016

• The Iowa DNR law enforcement made 46 Boating While Intoxicated arrests.

• Thirty-three percent of boating fatalities in Iowa involved alcohol (2 of the 6 fatalities).

• During Operation Dry Water 2016, 102 Iowa DNR law enforcement officers spent 98 hours making contact with 776 vessels, interacting with 2,201 boaters, arresting 10 people for Boating While Intoxicated, and issued 227 citations/warnings.

Visit operationdrywater.org or http://www.iowadnr.gov/Things-to-Do/Boating for information about boating under the influence.

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