Law enforcement officials to crack down on impaired boating

Motorized boating on Lake Powell. NPS Photo. June 26, 2018

LAKE POWELL, Utah – Law enforcement officials are working to crack down on impaired boating before the July 4 holiday, and want to educate boaters on the dangers of drinking or doing drugs while operating a vessel.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area will have heightened enforcement targeting drunk or impaired individuals operating boats, the U.S. National Parks Service announced Tuesday.

The heightened enforcement will begin on June 29, and continue through July 1.

“Law enforcement will be focused on educating boaters about safe boating practices, which includes boating sober, and enforcing the state’s boating under the influence laws,” parks service officials wrote.

Operating a vessel under the influence of drugs or with a BAC level of .08 or higher is illegal in Utah and Arizona, and can have the same consequences as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.

“The accidents and tragedies that happen because individuals chose to drive drunk or impaired, on land or on the water, are preventable,” said Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Superintendent William Shott.  “It is our job to do all we can to ensure the safety of our recreational boaters and paddlers. That is why we are joining other states and agencies across the country to do our part in keeping boaters safe and preventing accidents related to boating under the influence.”

The National Park Service, citing 2017 U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics, said that alcohol is the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths, and is a major cause of boating accidents.

Law enforcement focus on educating boaters about safe boating practices, which includes boating sober during the crackdown.