With many activities and events cancelled last summer because of the pandemic things are expected to get back to normal on the water this upcoming summer. The Yakima County Sheriff's office is already putting out warnings about safety on the water during memorial weekend when a lot of people are expected to travel and be on lakes and rivers.
The Washington State Parks Boating Program, and the Yakima County Sheriff's office are asking boaters to help keep everyone safe by not consuming alcohol or marijuana while out on the water - especially when operating a boat or paddlecraft.
As boaters prepare for the summer law enforcement agencies are preparing for Operation Dry Water - a nationally coordinated effort that focuses on boating-under-the-influence (BUI) awareness and enforcement. Boaters will notice an increase in patrols across Washington July 3-5.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, boating under the influence is the leading known contributing factor in fatal recreational boating accidents. A news release from Washington State Parks says in Washington state, it is illegal to use any substance that impairs a person’s ability to operate a boat. The law applies to all boats, including kayaks, canoes, rowboats and inflatable fishing rafts. Boaters can learn more about BUI laws in Washington State and about the risks of boating under the influence by visiting boatsober.org.
Next week in Safe Boating week in the state of Washington.

According to Washington’s recreational boating accident data, last year:

  • 22 people lost their life in a fatal accident, not including six people who are missing.
  • 55% of the fatal accidents occurred on non-motorized vessels and 45% on motorized.
  • Only 2 of the fatalities had a boater education card.
  • 70% of victims were not wearing a life jacket.
  • 3 accidents involved alcohol or drugs, one of which resulted in the death of a child age 16.
  • The oldest victim was age 74, and the youngest was 10.

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