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Operation BUI

Deputies monitored local lakes for impaired boaters during weekend

Posted: July 1, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 1, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Parks Bureau deputies found local waterways to be remarkably “dry” this weekend with the launch of a program to crack down on drunk boaters.

On Friday, Operation Dry Water officially got underway when deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Parks Bureau began monitoring local lakes for impaired boaters.

By Sunday, the nationally-coordinated weekend of boating under the influence detection and enforcement — aimed at reducing the number of alcohol and drug related accidents and fatalities — was over.

Parks Bureau officials contacted Sunday reported laying no criminal charges.

“We had no charges Saturday,” one deputy told The Signal, saying he took part in the crackdown at Pyramid Lake Saturday.

On Castaic Lake Sunday, Sgt. Roger Wallace filed a similar report.

“We’ve been called out three times, each time we’ve gone out onto the lake,” he told The Signal shortly after 3 p.m. Sunday.

Wallace and the Parks Bureau deputies were called to assist in three separate incidents which pulled them away from stopping boaters on Castaic Lake as planned, he said.

As of Sunday afternoon, no impaired boater charges had been laid at either Pyramid Lake or Castaic Lake.

The goal of Operation Dry Water is 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 a news release issued by the sheriff’s department.

The Department announced it would increase its presence at both Castaic Lake and Pyramid Lake during Operation Dry Water by conducting traffic stops and “boater under the influence” sobriety check points.

Its intent was to bring awareness and education to recreational boaters about the dangers of alcohol and drug use on the water.

This past weekend, deputies were expected to have been out in force looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent. The crackdown called for increased patrols, breathalyzer tests, and checkpoints as well as boater education.

Impaired boaters — had any been found — could have been arrested or faced “other serious penalties,” a sheriff’s official said.

“Public safety is our primary concern for boaters using the waterways within Los Angeles County. Boating is a safe and enjoyable pastime when people stay alert and follow the rules,” Sergeant Mike Carriles said in a news release.

“You will see our deputies out on the water looking for boaters who are operating a vessel under the influence.”
Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol continues to be a major problem across the nation. U.S. Coast Guard data reveals that alcohol is the primary contributing factor in recreational boating fatalities, he said.

Intoxicated boat operators and passengers run a significantly increased risk of being involved in a fatal boating accident.

Operation Dry Water is a nationwide education and enforcement initiative launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in 2009 in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.

This year’s program was a joint effort that involved the California State Department of Boating and Waterways, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and the U.S. Coast Guard.



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