Game and Fish officers keep Arizona’s waterways safe as part of Operation Dry Water
Posted July 25, 2017
Statewide initiative drives home the importance of boating sober
PHOENIX — Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) officers made contact with hundreds of boaters the weekend before the Fourth of July as part of Operation Dry Water, a national awareness and enforcement campaign that targets people who are operating a boat or watercraft while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Alcohol is a top factor contributing to recreational boater deaths, and the initiative’s goal is to increase safety on Arizona’s lakes and rivers and reduce the number of fatalities and injuries.
This year’s weekend of enhanced enforcement took place June 30 to July 2, in advance of the Fourth of July, which fell on a Tuesday. During those three days AZGFD officers stopped 812 boats, 74 of which had a designated driver. Three arrests were made for operating watercraft under the influence, 94 citations were written, and two individuals were arrested for driving motor vehicles under the influence. Statewide, 89 AZGFD officers participated in the initiative.
The lakes and waterways patrolled were: Lake Havasu, Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Lake Pleasant, Lake Powell, Apache Lake, Bartlett Lake, Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake and Roosevelt Lake, as well as Bullhead City and Parker Strip along the Colorado River.
AZGFD has been participating in Operation Dry Water since the initiative began in 2009. AZGFD partners with local agencies on the effort, which is done in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Although the legal limit for operating a boat in Arizona is .08 blood-alcohol content, an operator is in violation of the law and may be prosecuted for operating a watercraft while impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol and/or drugs.
While on the water, boaters should also keep in mind:
- State law requires all passengers 12 years old and younger to wear a life jacket while onboard and that each passenger must have a properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Drowning is the most common cause of death in boating incidents — always wear your life jacket.
- Anyone being towed by a boat or on a personal watercraft, such as a Sea-Doo or Jet Ski, must wear a life jacket.
- Know the “Rules of the Road.” Navigation rules identify who has the right of way and determine the required direction of travel.
- Never allow passengers to board or swim while the engine(s) are running. A boat’s propeller can still be spinning while the motor is in neutral. Always make sure no one is near the propeller before starting the boat’s engine.
- Paddle boards, kayaks and canoes are considered watercraft and users are required to have a wearable personal flotation device onboard while on the water. These watercraft must also follow the same navigation laws pertaining to all watercraft.
For more information on boating safety or to sign up for a boating education course, visit www.azgfd.com/Education/Boating.