ASHLAND, Ore. – Starting today, the Jackson County Marine Patrol is keeping a close eye on the water. They’re making sure boaters aren’t driving under the influence. It’s part of a national effort called Operation Dry Water.
In Oregon, boaters can legally drink, even the driver. But if you get caught driving while impaired that could get you a ticket or even a jail sentence.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said boaters should follow the same rules they would use to drive a car. That means a driver’s blood alcohol limit has to be below 0.08 percent and they have to be able to pass a field sobriety test. Marine patrol officers said they will be rotating between seven different lakes and about 56 miles of river.
“We’re not out here to try to squash anybody’s fun or anything like that,” said Deputy Jason Denton from the Jackson County Marine Patrol. “The message we want to get across is be responsible, have somebody that’s sober that can operate your boat and maintain. If you can’t and we have to come get involved, it’s probably going to cost you some money and could possibly lead to jail.”
Marine patrol officers want to remind everyone that the best way to stay safe on the water is to wear a life jacket. They expect Emigrant Lake to get pretty crowded this weekend and some boaters want to make sure everyone is still able to have a good time.
“Just common sense,” said Central Point local Chris Silva. “Treat the next person out on the water how you want to be treated. Common respect and courtesy go a long way.”
Operation Dry Water will end on July 7.