Marine Patrol targeting drunk boaters for Operation Dry Water

Marine Patrol targeting drunk boaters for Operation Dry Water

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Law enforcement in patrol boats will be targeting drunk drivers on the river this weekend as part of Operation Dry Water.

“Hey guys, how's it going?” Benton County Deputy Brett Hansen asked a boater on the Columbia River. “That flag's got to be up--it was blending into your shirt we couldn't see it at all.”

“We'll get that taken care of,” the boater replied.

Extra patrol boats will be out on the water June 29 to July 1 to crack down on boating under the influence.

“We're not telling people that they can't drink while they're on a boat--we're just telling people to be smart and have a sober driver,” Hansen said.

Hansen said the legal limit for drinking while boating is .08--same as on the road.

“Alcohol affects you differently on the water,” he said. “You're out in the sun, you're not drinking enough, you get dehydrated.”

He said they arrested two people last year in Benton County for BUI’s.

“Most of the time people just drink and they don't realize how intoxicated they're getting,” Hansen said. “They're just floating, they've been out here for hours.”

Hansen said boating under the influence is the leading cause of boating deaths in Washington.

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