Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) marine patrol deputies will be watching for impaired boaters on the 4th of July holiday, but they won’t stop there. Deputies are taking part in an enforcement event that lasts through the weekend. It is designed to increase awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol, and to set the stage for safety for the summer boating season.
This weekend, from July 5 through 7, 2019, JCSO is taking part in Operation Dry Water (ODW), a nationwide push to help keep waterways safe from alcohol-related fatalities. Deputies will focus on education and enforcement of Oregon’s boating under the influence laws. During the 2018 ODW event, JCSO deputies made eight arrests for boating under the influence of intoxicants. Deputies won a nationwide award for their efforts.
Operation Dry Water is a year-long awareness campaign sponsored by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). According to NASBLA, alcohol is responsible for 15% of boating fatalities, making it the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths.
Oregon’s laws for driving and boating under the influence of intoxicants (DUII and BUII) are generally similar. Unlike driving laws, however, Oregon boating laws allow open containers of alcohol in boats, and boat operators are allowed to consume alcohol. Like vehicle drivers, though, the “legal limit” is 0.08% blood alcohol content and boat operators must not be impaired to a perceptible degree. BUII laws are enforceable on any public waterway and pertain to any kind of boat, including motor boats, rafts, kayaks, and other paddle craft.
For more information on Operation Dry Water, visit http://www.operationdrywater.org/ . Information about statewide boating laws and safety information can be found on the Oregon State Marine Board website: https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/pages/index.aspx .