The results of a recent OUI checkpoint disappointed officials with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. While they were pleased that the number of boaters consuming alcohol had declined, they were not happy with the number of safety violations that were found.
Despite educational efforts, there was no change to the three most common boating safety violations found during the operation, which was held at Katherine Landing, on the Arizona shore of Lake Mohave.
A total of 136 watercraft operators were contacted at the checkpoint. Two citations were issued for alcohol consumption– one for OUI (operating under the influence) and the other was for being impaired to the slightest degree. There were 17 other operators that admitted to drinking alcohol, but did not violate the law.
As for safety violations, the most common violations was by boaters that did not have a Type IV throwable device on-board their watercraft. That’s the life-saving device that an operator would throw to someone in the water who is having difficulty staying afloat. Of those stopped at the OUI checkpoint, 15 boaters did not have a throwable device.
Ten boaters did not have a working fire extinguisher and three others did not have a sufficient number of life jackets on-board. Arizona law requires boaters to have at least one life jacket for every person on-board the watercraft.
“Each of these citations can be easily avoidable by reviewing the regulations,” said Karin Perkins, law enforcement program manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Region Three office in Kingman. “There’s a reason for these items being required on watercraft and it is certainly cheaper to be compliant than to receive a citation and then have to become compliant afterwards.”
While 82 percent of the people contacted during the operation were in compliance with all safety regulations, officers noted that many boaters couldn’t locate their safety equipment quickly.
“In a life-threatening situation, that equipment isn’t going to do much good unless you can find it quickly,” Perkins said.
Game and Fish says they will conduct future OUI checkpoints along the Colorado River throughout the summer season.