Jackson County, Ore. — Marine patrol deputies across the state are getting ready for Operation Dry Water.
It’s an effort to prevent alcohol-related deaths on the lakes and rivers.
Deputies have already been patrolling the water for weeks, but starting tomorrow, they’ll be part of a state-wide education effort to make sure all boaters are aware of the law.
Marine Patrol Deputy Ian Lance with Jackson County Sheriff’s Office says there are often misconceptions when it comes to boating and alcohol.
He says the same rules apply to when you’re driving a car with the exception of open-container laws.
Meaning you can have alcohol on a boat.
You just can’t be driving it if you’re under the influence.
Deputy Lance says boating under the influence has been an issue in Southern Oregon for years.
“As soon as the weather gets warm, and the river warms up a little bit and school gets out, then our traffic vastly increases. And so that usually coincides with more boating under the influence cases,” Deputy Lance said.
Deputies will have intoxilyzers on the water to check blood alcohol content.
Marijuana is also considered an intoxicant.
Deputy Lance says there’s also been an issue lately with boaters not wearing life jackets or whistle’s.
He says stand-up paddle boards and sit-on-top kayaks count as boats, so it’s important to be aware of all boating laws you’re expected to follow.