By News-Register staff • 

Marine patrols will stress boating safety July 4-6

Boating under the influence of intoxicants means prescription drugs, alcohol, inhalants, marijuana, or any other substance that impairs a person’s ability to make sound judgments and safely operate a boat. The effects of drugs and alcohol are amplified on the water, due to the combined impacts of environmental stressors like sun glare, wind, wave motion and other factors. Alcohol also dehydrates the body, making sudden immersion into cold water at an even greater risk for drowning.

Impaired boaters face serious penalties. The consequences of a BUII conviction include possible jail time, a $6,250 fine and loss of boating privileges. Marine officers can legally obtain blood, breath or urine samples if a boater fails field sobriety tests. The U.S. Coast Guard’s nationwide statistics for 2023 noted alcohol use as the leading known contributing factor in boating accidents where the primary cause was known and was listed as the leading factor in 17% of deaths.

“Recreational boating is a relatively safe activity when boating sober, wearing life jackets, and staying aware of the surroundings,” said Brian Paulsen, Boating Safety Program Manager for the Marine Board. Paulson noted that common denominators for boating fatalities are operator inattention, not wearing a life jacket and operator inexperience.

If you see an impaired operator or someone who is operating in a way that threatens others’ safety, call 911 to report it.

For more information about Operation Dry Water, visit


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