DEEP to enforce drunken boating laws

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Environmental Conservation Police will step up enforcement activities this weekend on those who may be boating under the influence, DEEP announced Friday.

EnCon Police officers will participate in a Connecticut-based Operation Dry Water and will be out in force today and Sunday looking for boaters with a blood alcohol content exceeding the state limit of 0.08 percent.

Operation Dry Water will include statewide increased patrols and checkpoints, as well as boater education efforts. Impaired boaters can expect penalties to be severe, including fines, jail time and loss of boating privileges.

Boating while under the influence continues to be a factor in too many boating deaths and injuries in Connecticut and nationwide, DEEP said in a news release. In Connecticut last year, 67 percent — four of six reportable accidents — of boating accidents that resulted in fatalities were alcohol-related. Twenty-nine percent — six of 21 reportable accidents — of accidents with injuries involved alcohol, DEEP said. When impaired by alcohol, boating accidents are more probable and more deadly for both passengers and boat operators, many of whom capsize their vessel or simply fall overboard, the agency said.

EnCon Police also participated in the National Operation Dry Water activities in June. The National Operation Dry Water activity was a multi-agency, education and enforcement initiative launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in 2009 in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information, visit www.ct.gov/deep/enconpolice.

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