“Operation Dry Water” in Effect

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WHITE CITY, Ore. — Sgt. Shawn Richards said his message for staying safe out on the water is simple.

“All we ask is that whoever’s operating the boat, whether it be a raft or powerboat, be a sober driver,” said Sgt. Richards.

He says 22 people were arrested for B.U.I.I.’s last year a number right around average, but still too high. Those arrests happen at all of the county’s major waterways, but the Rogue and Emigrant Lake stand out as common places for B.U.I.I.’s

Fisherman Bill Urie is a veteran of the Rogue.

“This time of year, I’m up here pretty much every day, at least 4-5 times a week, if not every day,” said Urie.

He said this is the time of year activity on the Rogue picks up… and seeing people drinking while boating is not uncommon.

“More than anything is we see a lot of people not wearing their life jackets when they’re in their inflatable kayaks and stuff like that, and they’re drinking,” said Urie.

The legal limit is .08  for an operator of a boat, but Sgt. Richards said added elements on water can complicate things even for people under the limit.

“On the water, because of the motion of the water and the heat from the sun and all that, they’ll look like a 0.08 or greater,” said Sgt. Richards.

Sgt. Richards said the legal limit applies to all operators of boats. For rafts that can be several people.

“If you have six people paddling, they’re all considered operators. So, they should all be within the legal limit,” said Sgt. Richards.

Jackson County sheriff’s officials said although they’ll have a ramped up patrol for this weekend’s “Operation Dry Water”, they will continue to have a presence on the water throughout the summer.