JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. -- The Sheriff's Office is joining a nationwide movement to make Southern Oregon's lakes and rivers safer.
Marine Patrol Deputies are taking part in "Operation Dry Water," which is a push to prevent alcohol-related deaths on the water. They will be working to educate and enforce Oregon's boating laws this weekend, from June 29 to July 1.
The Sheriff's Office said alcohol is responsible for 15 percent of boating deaths, which makes it the leading contributing factor.
Deputy Ian Lance said Oregon's BUII laws are similar to DUII laws, but there is one big difference.
"In boats, there's no open container law, so you couldn't drive down the road drinking a beer, you can drive your boat drinking a beer, but you don't want to be impaired," Lance said.
Deputies will be on the lookout for anyone visibly impaired operating a boat, kayak, or paddle board.
Deputies also want to remind everyone about life jackets. In Oregon, people on any type of boat, kayak or paddle board must have a life jacket. It does not have to be on if the person is over 12 years old, but it does have to be on board.
BUII laws are enforceable on any public waterway and pertain to any kind of boat, including motor boats, rafts, and other paddle craft.
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