Boating While Intoxicated the focus of emphasis through summer

As the weather heats up, law enforcement agencies will be stepping up targeting people boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The Boating Program and state Department of Fish and Wildlife police will join city and county marine patrol units on the special patrols, which will start this weekend and run on several weekends through the summer.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Recreational Boating Statistics alcohol was the leading contributing factor in 21% of deaths in 2014.

In Washington, alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in 17% of boating fatalities in the state.

Under state law, boaters suspected of being intoxicated who refuse to comply with taking a breath or blood test face a civil penalty of $2,050.

Boating under the influence is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and 364 days in jail. The law applies to all boats, including kayaks, canoes, rowboats and inflatable fishing rafts.

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