“The priority during this holiday weekend is to provide boaters with a safe and enjoyable experience by removing the dangerous and impaired boaters from the waterways,” said Sgt. Eric Westveer, director of the marine patrol division of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.
Westveer said marine patrols from the Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard will also focus on educating boaters in safe boating practices, which includes keeping alcohol off the boat for both operators and passengers.
“Every year, we see boating accidents and tragedies that could have been avoided, had drug or alcohol use not been a factor,” Westveer said. “As part of the community ourselves, our job is to ensure that recreational boaters, paddlers and anyone on our waters has a safe place to enjoy time with their family and friends.”
Westveer said that alcohol use could impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. That is why local officials are participating in the nationwide effort called Operation Dry Water.
Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in all bodies of water. In Michigan, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.
Boaters are also encouraged to wear a life jacket.
Operation Dry Water is a year-round boating-under-the-influence awareness and enforcement campaign. For more information, go online to operationdrywater.org.