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Law enforcement cracks down on impaired boating this weekend

Weekend boaters take note: Local law enforcement agencies will ramp up patrols for intoxicated watercraft operators today through Sunday as part of the national Operation Dry Water campaign.

Police in state parks, Sacramento, South Lake Tahoe and counties across northern California will increase patrols and educate recreational boaters about safe boating practices.

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department public information officer Lisa Bowman said the department hopes to use the weekend to educate boaters about the harm, both bodily and legal, impaired boating can bring.

“There’s so many facets to it that a lot of people don’t realize,” Bowman said. “We can impound their boat, they could lose their license, get fined.”

Roughly 550 law enforcement agencies across the country have signed on to Operation Dry Water in an effort to reduce impaired boating ahead of the three-day Fourth of July weekend.

Bowman said the number of waterways in the Sacramento region, including the Sacramento and American rivers and numerous lakes, means local law enforcement agencies must pay particular attention to boating and water safety.

In California, it is against the law to operate a boat with blood alcohol level above .08 percent. If convicted, boaters could face up to six months in jail and fines of $1,000.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators launched Operation Dry Water in 2009 to raise awareness about the dangers of operating a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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