Coast Guard units crack down on impaired boaters
BATON ROUGE - Coast Guard, parish marine units and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries plan to increase awareness for boaters under the influence this weekend.
The task to prevent impaired boaters is through Operation Dry Water, a nationwide campaign where to stop people from operating a boat while impaired. The organization helps to raise awareness that it's unsafe and illegal to operate a boat under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
"The Coast Guard looks forward to working with state and local law enforcement in an effort to keep the District's waterways clear of impaired drivers and providing the public with education on safe boating," said Coast Guard boating safety instructor Ed Hunstman.
Authorities say alcohol is the leading contributing factor to deadly fatal boating accidents, and led to 16 percent of boating deaths in 2013. Boaters caught operating under the influence have their voyage terminated and their vessel impounded, and could face arrest, fines, loss of boating or driving privileges.
Operation Dry Water started in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administration in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard. They seek to put thousands of local, state and federal marine law-enforcement officers on the water the weekend before Independence Day to give strong BUI enforcement.