To increase public safety at Lake Havasu last weekend, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, Lake Havasu Police Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement participated in a joint operation to target those operating a boat or watercraft under the influence.
On Saturday, June 25, officers contacted 487 boaters aboard 128 vessels and arrested eight for operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol as part of Operation Dry Water, a national awareness and enforcement campaign done in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Of the eight arrests, two people face aggravated OUI charges because children were also aboard and two more were charged with extreme OUI.
While Operation Dry Water targeted people operating their watercraft under the influence of alcohol or drugs, officers also wrote 22 citations for operation, fire extinguisher and life jacket violations and issued 16 written warnings.
The checkpoint at Lake Havasu was part of a national and statewide effort among law enforcement agencies to increase public safety by targeting impaired operators. While on the water, boaters should also keep in mind:
- State law requires all passengers 12 years old and younger to wear a life jacket while onboard and that each passenger must have a properly fitting, Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Drowning is the most common cause of death in boating incidents, always wear your life jacket.
- Anyone being towed by a boat or on a personal watercraft, such as a Sea Doo or Jet Ski, must wear a life jacket.
- Know the “Rules of the Road,” navigation rules identify who has the right of way and determine the required direction of travel.
- Never allow passengers to board or swim while the engine(s) are running. A boat’s propeller can still be spinning while the motor is in neutral. Always make sure no one is near the propeller before starting the boat’s engine.
- Paddle boards, kayaks and canoes are each considered watercraft and users are required to have a wearable PFD on board while on the water. Furthermore, these watercraft must also follow the same navigation laws pertaining to all watercraft.
It’s also recommended that all boat operators and passengers complete a boating safety course. For a list of courses hosted around the state, please visit www.azgfd.gov/boating.