“Boat safe, boat smart, boat sober”

TORTILLA FLAT, Ariz. —The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) will conduct a watercraft operating under the influence (OUI) checkpoint on Canyon Lake this weekend. The purpose of the checkpoint is to ensure people are operating their watercraft safely and responsibly and to apprehend those found to be operating their vessels under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Throughout the weekend, boaters may be required to pass through a checkpoint and be subject to a systematic safety inspection. Operators will be checked for any sign of impairment from alcohol or drugs and to ensure the required safety equipment, such as proper number of life jackets and working fire extinguishers, are aboard.

“Operating a boat while impaired is just as dangerous, and just as illegal, as driving a vehicle while impaired,” said Tim Holt, Field Supervisor for the AZGFD office in Mesa. “The illegal per se limit for blood alcohol concentration is .08 in both cases.”

Canyon Lake is one of Arizona’s most popular lakes for recreational boaters. In 2016, there were 16 boating accidents on Canyon Lake. Nationally, alcohol use was a factor in 17 percent of all fatalities and is the leading known contributor in fatal boating accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Using a checkpoint will not only increase the number of contacts with boaters, but will also provide valuable data on the amount of alcohol consumption related to recreational boating on Arizona’s waterways.

Before you head out on the water, here are a few tips to stay safe and legal:

AZGFD recommends that all operators take a boating safety education course, and watercraft users review all regulations prior to launching.
Operators must have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for every person on board and make sure that anyone 12 and under is wearing one at all times.
Boats must be equipped with a fire extinguisher and a Type IV throwable personal flotation device (PFD).
Each person on a personal watercraft (PWC), commonly known as a Jet Ski or Wave Runner, must wear a USCG approved life jacket with all fasteners and closures secured according to the manufacturer’s design and recommended use.
Each person being towed behind a vessel on water skis or a similar device must wear a life jacket.

For more information on boating in Arizona, or to sign up for a free safety course, visit http://www.azgfd.gov/boating.   back...
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