GREENWICH, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The Greenwich Police Department will soon patrol Long Island Sound checking for drunken boaters.
The Greenwich Time reports that Operation Dry Water, a national three-day campaign against boating under the influence, is scheduled for June 28-30 and corresponds with the peak of the summer boating season.
Boaters can expect extra police patrols. Greenwich police will make stops on the water and at checkpoints from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day.
Since last year, Greenwich police have increased its ability to enforce boating under the influence laws. It acquired a new public safety boat, outfitted its Marine Division with breathalyzers and boosted training.
As with motor vehicles, state and federal laws prohibit operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol content of more than 0.08 percent. Four boating deaths in Connecticut were attributed to alcohol last year, the most since 2009.
Penalties for boating while under the influence range from fines to arrests to revocation of boating licenses. Alcohol remains the single largest contributor to recreational boating deaths each year, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
In 2012, of 651 recreational boating fatalities nationwide, alcohol contributed to 140.
Marine Division Sgt. Dave Nemecek, said part of the problem is that alcohol is commonly used for entertainment at gatherings.
“Generally, on the water, people are more relaxed,” he said. “Boating is a recreational activity, and people associate it with drinking.”
Police also will be watching for infractions such as safety violations and overcrowding.
The Greenwich Police Department will be one of hundreds of local, state and federal marine law enforcement agencies participating.
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