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BCSO conducting high-visibility enforcement during national crackdown on boating under the influence

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BENTON COUNTY, WA - As the summer recreational boating season gets into full swing, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office is ramping up its enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on boating under the influence. The annual three-day, heightened awareness and enforcement campaign, Operation Dry Water, focuses on deterring boaters from boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

June 30th thru July 2nd, law enforcement agencies nationwide will be out in force, looking for boaters who choose to boat under the influence and removing them from the water. Increased awareness messaging about the dangers of boating under the influence, along with an increased number of officers on the water, aim to drastically reduce the number of accidents and deaths due to impaired boating.

“It is our job as law enforcement to identify potential hazardous behavior and remove drunk or impaired boaters from the water. Everyone should be confident in the fact that they can continue to have an enjoyable boating season, and not become a victim of boating under the influence. Preservation of life and protecting the public is the heart of our mission here at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office,” said Deputy JP Benitez. “Our agency is participating in Operation Dry Water, and joining thousands of law enforcement officers nationwide, to decrease the number of accidents and deaths that come as a result of boaters who choose to drink and boat,” he added.

In the State of Washington, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a BAC level of [.08 or higher - the same as it is to operate a vehicle]. The Benton County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind boaters to stay safe this summer, by staying sober on the water. Alcohol use is a leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. During the national weekend of heightened awareness and high-visibility enforcement, boaters can expect to see more law enforcement presence and increased messaging about this dangerous and preventable crime.