Stay ‘dry’ while boating.

June 26, 2018

Stay ‘dry’ while boating.


HART — The Marine Division of the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office will actively participate in Operation Dry Water in an effort to reduce boating under the influence incidents on our local lakes, said Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast.

As the Fourth of July holiday nears, officers will focus on keeping boaters safe through heightened awareness and enforcement of boating under the influence laws.

The effort is in coordination with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the US Coast Guard and other partners. The annual campaign starts before the holiday weekend, when more boaters take to the water and alcohol use increases.

“The best way to safely enjoy a day on the water is to avoid alcohol,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, Michigan’s boating law administrator. “Using alcohol impairs reaction time, balance and judgment. Please don’t put yourself and others at risk. Be smart and stay sober when boating.”

In Michigan, a person operating a motorboat while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, or having a blood alcohol content of .08 grams or more, can be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by fines up to $500, community service and up to 93 days in jail. It also can result in loss of boating privileges for at least one year.

If a person is killed or injured due to a driver operating a boat while under the influence, the driver could be charged with a felony, punishable by fines up to $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison.

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. The effects of alcohol and certain medications are increased on the water due to added stress factors such as the sun, heat, wind, wave motion and engine noise.

Not only is avoiding alcohol important, but so is wearing a life jacket. Nearly 85 percent of drowning victims in the US were not wearing life jackets.

The DNR recommends taking a boating safety course for anyone who plans to use a boat or personal watercraft.

Learn more about boating regulations, safety and where to find marinas at



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