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Colorado Parks and Wildlife joins Operation Dry Water

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 7:55 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -Additional Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are heading out to Colorado waters this weekend to enforce boating under the influence laws.

The three-day enforcement period lasts from July 2-July 4 and is a part of the national Operation Dry Water campaign.

The operation is timed closely to the July 4th holiday every year to educate boaters on the dangers of boating under the influence and reduce the number of accidents on waterways.

“Boating is a favorite pastime of Coloradans and visitors alike, but we want to make sure that everyone is enjoying their time on the water responsibly,” said Grant Brown, boating safety program manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths. Making the decision to boat under the influence is reckless; boat smart, boat safe, boat sober.”

Operation Dry Water’s mission is to raise awareness among recreational boaters about the dangers and consequences of boating under the influence.

Some of the dangers are that alcohol impairs judgment, balance, vision and reaction time on the water, which can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion. Also, sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion are added factors found in a boating environment, which can intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs, and some medications. A general rule to remember is one drink on land is about three drinks on water. Lastly, alcohol can be dangerous for passenger as well. Intoxication on board a boat can cause injuries from slips and falls overboard.

Boating under the influence can result in penalties like fines, having your boat impounded, jail time and loss of boating privileges. Boaters with a blood alcohol content level above the .08 state limit should expect to be arrested.

Operation Dry Water will increase patrols and checkpoints on the water.

“If you’re on the water and see other boaters drinking while driving or acting dangerously on their watercraft, please let us know,” says Michael Haskins, Park Ranger at Chatfield State Park. “Just as you would call 911 to report a drunk driver, please call 911 to report drunk boating to allow dispatch to get the nearest authorities out to help eliminate potential safety issues for you, your family and fellow boaters.”

The dangers of operating under the influence of marijuana are the same as those from alcohol, and the penalties are identical for both substances. Open display or use of marijuana is illegal on public property, which includes many of the lakes, reservoirs and rivers in Colorado.

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