ODNR officers crack down on drinking while on the water
CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WKRC) - It's one of the busiest times of the year for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
It's often on the water, enforcing rules, protecting and helping.
Officers want to remind boaters that just like you can get an OVI on the roads, you can also get a BUI on the water.
Sgt. Jeffery Cramer is with ODNR. “The penalties on water are the same as the penalties on land, so the penalties and fines are equivalent and the alcohol limit is .08, so it's the same on the water as it is on land,” Cramer said.
Last weekend, ODNR started something called Operation Dry Water to crack down on drunk boating.
It's the leading factor in boating deaths nationwide and not only does drinking impair judgment, officers say it also increases fatigue.
Cramer said, “One beer on water is equivalent to three on land, so the added stressors of the heat, glare off the water, noise, vibrations of being out on the water, being dehydrated all day adds a factor into that and can make someone become impaired a lot quicker."
Whether it's a kayak, a jet ski, or a canoe, ODNR says anything a person uses on the water can be considered a vessel and therefore you can still get a BUI.
“If we observe anyone that's drinking or has any alcohol in there, we'll go through our standard process of making sure that they have a sober skipper,” said Cramer.
In one weekend, ODNR gave out more than 100 citations and nearly 900 warnings, and eight people got BUIs.
Officers want people to enjoy the water without putting themselves or others in danger.
There were three boating-related deaths in Ohio just last weekend.