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Drunken boaters targeted

Parks Bureau cracks down on boating under the influence in Castaic Lake

Posted: June 24, 2012 10:39 p.m.
Updated: June 24, 2012 10:39 p.m.

Boating enthusiasts arrive at Castaic Lake, where sheriff’s deputies were conducting sobriety tests on boaters on Sunday.

 

For being the largest body of fresh water in the area, Castaic Lake was a pretty dry place this past weekend, according to sheriff's deputies looking for drunken boaters.

On Saturday and Sunday, Parks Bureau deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department set up a floating checkpoint on Castaic Lake as part of Operation Dry Water, a program run every year to reduce the number of impaired boaters.

Halfway into Sunday's operation, deputies stepping off their police boat at the dock at upper Castaic Lake said they had made no arrests.

"I'm glad to report that there have been no arrests," said Deputy John Liebe.

Deputies pulled over every third boater to see if they had been drinking, he said.

If any boater is suspected to have consumed alcohol, they're given a sobriety test on a floating barge just as they would if they had been driving a car - with one exception.

"We don't make them walk a straight line," Liebe said.

"Everyone's got their sea-legs out there, so they're not going to walk a straight line."

If anyone if caught drinking and driving - a boat - then they're charged.

"Instead of a DUI (driving under the influence) it's a BUI, boating under the influence," Liebe said.

Deputies stopped about 20 people Saturday, and by mid-afternoon Sunday, had stopped about six boaters.

The sheriff's department launched the national Operation Dry Water program in an effort to reduce the number of alcohol and drug related accidents and fatalities.

The goal was to foster a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water in an effort to educate boaters about boating under the influence, according to the department.

Deputies running the program at Pyramid Lake on a June day last year made one BUI arrest, having stopped eight boats.

They also made one arrest at Castaic Lake one day last summer, having stopped 14 boats.

"It seems that people are getting the message," Liebe said. "So, we're very pleased."

jholt@the-signal.com

661-287-5527

 

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