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Officials on the lookout for impaired boaters during holiday weekend

Fishermen out on Clear Lake, Oregon.
Brian Bull
When it comes to impairment, Oregon's boating laws apply to both motorized and non-motorized vessels.

A long summer weekend with good weather in the forecast means Oregonians will be flocking to the state’s rivers and lakes. Marine law enforcement officers say they’re planning extra patrols over the holiday to watch for impaired boat operators.

It’s part of a nationwide enforcement blitz called “Operation Dry Water.” Safety officials say alcohol is a leading factor in fatal boating accidents. Drugs, including prescription drugs, can also contribute to impairment.

Ashley Massey: “Because the waterways are more congested, especially during exciting, fun, long weekends, it’s even more important to have your wits about you and use good judgment and make sound choices,” said Ashley Massey of the Oregon State Marine Board.

Boating while impaired is a crime that can lead to jail time, fines and a suspension of boating privileges.

"It's super-important to just leave the alcohol and substances on shore," said Massey. "It's hard enough to operate in our waters when you are completely sober, because a lot of skill is necessary, especially on area rivers."

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”