People are flocking to the lakes this 4th of July holiday to get wet and have fun. At the same time, “Operation Dry Water” is trying to prevent boating under the influence of intoxicants.
The federal Blood Alcohol Content legal limit for operating a boat under the influence is .08, the same as driving a car.
But one big difference: open containers are permitted in a boat.
“There can be open containers. Other people on board can be drinking. That’s fine so long as the operator of the boat, the captain, is not under the influence of any intoxicants,” said Mitch Turner, a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputy on marine patrol at Lake Billy Chinook.
Identifying a boat operator under the influence is different than a motorist on the road. Boats typically weave all over to give the people riding in and being towed behind a thrill.
“Everybody I’ve contacted, everybody’s having a good time,” Turner said. “Everyone’s enjoying themselves and they are doing it in a positive and safe manner. I’ve had nothing but positive contacts all around. I think the campaign’s been really successful so far.”
Turner has contacted 200 people in boats this 4th of July weekend at Lake Billy Chinook. He’s issued a few citations and a few more warnings but not one Boating Under the Influence of Intoxicants violation.
It appears the message is getting out and people are behaving.