OPSAVE Task Force Inspects 794 Boats During Busy Weekend

Two boaters charged with BWI; 173 safety violations issued; 37 voyages terminated.

NEW HAVEN, Conn.-Regional first response agencies completed their fourth successful summer weekend surge operation along Long Island, N.Y. and Connecticut waterways Sunday, educating the boating public and enforcing recreational boating safety laws.

Operation Sector Aggressive Vessel Enforcement (OPSAVE), a recreational boating safety task force comprised of 47 federal, state, county, and local agencies in New York and Connecticut, inspected safety equipment and registration documents aboard 794 recreational vessels Aug. 10-12, and issued 173 violations, terminated 37 voyages, and arrested two for Boating While Intoxicated (BWI). For the summer, OPSAVE task force agencies inspected 2,856 vessels, issued 684 violations, terminated 142 voyages, and made nine arrests.

“I applaud the efforts of all of our partner agencies on another successful OPSAVE weekend,” said Capt. Daniel A. Ronan, Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound Commander and Captain of the Port. “Our goal as a maritime rescue agency is to foster the safest and most pleasurable experience for our boaters, their families and their friends. Our emphasis on aggressively educating boaters to exercise safe seamanship and respect established boating laws works toward that goal.”

The OPSAVE task force was originally developed in Suffolk County, N.Y. in 2003 to reverse the upward trend of boating-related fatalities and BWI violations. The most-visible efforts of the task force involve pulse operations during several weekends each summer. The goal on these weekends is to saturate the water with the greatest law enforcement presence possible. This serves both as a deterrent to dangerous and illegal activity and offers a chance to educate boaters about water safety.

During summer 2006, officers conducted nearly 3,000 safety inspections, issued over 700 violations, and arrested 11 individuals during four surge weekends.

“Because of the proven success of OPSAVE and positive working relationships established between the Coast Guard and agencies in Connecticut, and in Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York, the OPSAVE task force has been tremendously successful,” said Ronan. “Through solid leadership and the overarching commitment of each partnering agency, OPSAVE has truly made our waters safer.”

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