Drunk Boaters Targeted This Weekend | Crime
State officials will be cracking down on drunk boaters throughout Nevada over the weekend, including at Lake Mead.
Game wardens with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) will take part in a nationally coordinated enforcement effort dubbed “Operation Dry Water.” In an attempt to reduce the number of drunken boaters, Operation Dry Water is an effort to coordinate increased patrols, investigations, and operating under the influence check points.
Events will take place at including Lakes Lahontan, Mead, Tahoe, Mohave, Topaz, and South Fork Reservoir.
“We want people to go boating and have fun, but drunken boaters cause accidents and fatalities," said Capt. David Pfiffner, Nevada’s Boating Law Administrator. "Of our fatal accidents, almost half in an average year are alcohol related. Too many people are getting hurt because of a senseless, selfish act of some people.”
As part of the effort, game wardens will hold an operating under the influence check point at a reservoir in northwest Nevada on Saturday. NDOW will also be moving extra officers from other parts of the state to focus on busy recreational waters, such as Lakes Mead and Mohave.
“In addition to our check point, we want to move officers to the trouble spots,” said Lt. Mike McCusker, the game warden in charge of the operating under the influence check point, scheduled for Saturday. “We know where the higher concentrations of drunken boating are happening and we will be focusing our efforts in those places.”
“We want to raise awareness,” Pfiffner said. “We run into people all the time who have no idea of the dangers of booze and boating. Many boaters don’t realize that OUI carries exactly the same penalties as DUI, including arrest, heavy fines, and jail time.”
Officials say alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision, and reaction time. It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion. Sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion – “stressors” common to the boating environment – intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs, and some prescription medications.
United States Coast Guard statistics from 2008 reveal that 17 percent of all boat accident fatalities were a direct result of alcohol or drug use.
Operation Dry Water, launched in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the United States Coast Guard, is a joint program of NDOW, NASBLA and the U.S. Coast Guard. More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.