Coast Guard to Increase Safety Patrols for Operation Dry Water
Source: US Coast Guard
Coast Guard, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and other local law enforcement agencies are scheduled to increase boating safety patrols in Southern California, from San Luis Obispo to Orange County, Friday through Sunday in support of Operation Dry Water, a national boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign.
Operation Dry Water is aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of operating under the influence in an effort to decrease the number of recreational boating accidents and deaths.
Boating under the influence (BUI), or boating while intoxicated (BWI), is just as deadly as drinking and driving. It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state. Penalties for violating BUI/BWI laws can include large fines, suspension or revocation of boat operator privileges and jail terms.
Boaters can expect increased presence from the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary who will be paying particular attention to recreational boating safety this weekend via dockside safety equipment inspections and boating safety boardings on the water to raise awareness.
“Boating under the influence is reckless and endangers the public,” said Capt. Monica Rochester, the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander. “We want to remind the maritime community to remain vigilant and to always wear their life jacket while enjoying their time on the water."
California has the third largest number of recreational boats in the country ,the second highest number of boating-related accidents, and the third highest number of deaths according to the Coast Guard’s 2017 statistics.
Nationwide, 658 people died in boating and paddling accidents in 2017. Approximately 76 percent drown, and more than 84 percent of those people were not wearing a life jacket. Alcohol use is the lead contributing factor in fatal boating accidents accounting for nearly 20 percent of all reported fatalities.
Some other tips to help boaters have a safe and pleasant weekend on the water include:
- Make sure a friend or relative knows your float plan. A float plan states where you are going and how many people are aboard your vessel. It also gives a vessel description, details your destination and what time you expect to arrive there. If you are delayed for some reason, make sure you let someone know.
- Make certain to check the local weather prior to departing the dock. Weather can change very rapidly and mariners should keep a watchful eye on the forecasted conditions.
- Have nautical charts of the area you are boating in, a global positioning device and a reliable means of communication aboard your vessel. VHF-radio is the best method of communication while on the water. Although cell phones are a good backup, they can be unreliable due to gaps in coverage area and the inevitable dead battery.
- Wear your life jacket! More than 84 percent of boaters who drown were not wearing their life jackets. In an emergency there might not be enough time to put one on, so wearing one at all times may save your life.
Further boating safety information can be found online at the following websites: