Coast Guard launches Operation Lifesaver to combat boating under the influence

11th Coast Guard District NewsSAN PEDRO, Calif. – State and Federal maritime law enforcement agencies will be conducting safety patrols during the upcoming holiday weekend, May 25 – 28, ready to help people in distress and on the lookout for boaters consuming too much alcohol.

Studies conducted by the Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety reflect the dangers of ignoring to wear a lifejacket and the overuse of alcohol over the past 10 years.  In the reported number of boating fatalities, nearly 80% of victims were not wearing a lifejacket.  In those same fatal cases, 59% percent of victims were found to have a Blood Alcohol Content over .04.  During non-fatal accidents, 22% were found to have a BAC higher than .04.

Alcohol is even more hazardous on the water than on land. The marine environment – motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray – accelerates a drinker’s impairment. These stressors cause fatigue that makes a boat operator’s coordination, judgment and reaction time decline even faster when using alcohol.

Boating with a lifejacket on and having other safety equipment onboard is extremely important during holiday weekends, as more and more people are expected on the water.

The California Department of Boating and Waterways has created two video Public Service Announcements, titled “Heroes wear lifejackets, now it’s your turn”.  These 15 and 30 second videos can be viewed at:

(15 seconds)

(30 seconds)

Boaters are encouraged to take personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers by following four key tenets of safe boating:

  • Always wear your life jacket.
  • Never boat under the influence.
  • Take a boating safety course.
  • Get a free Vessel Safety Check.

More information on Boating Under the Influence can be found at:

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