WAYNE COUNTY, Pa., (PFBC/WETM) – Ahead of the busy Independence Day weekend, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is encouraging boaters to remain safe and sober while on the water. They held a news conference Tuesday at the PFBC’s Mangan Cove Access Area at Lake Wallenpaupack, Wayne County.
“Simply put, boating while impaired increases the chance for an accident,” said Matthew Dietrich, a Waterways Conservation Officer. “Just like operating a motor vehicle on the roadway, in Pennsylvania, a person operating a boat is over the legal limit if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration of point-zero-eight-percent or higher,” Dietrich continued.
From July 2-4, PFBC waterways conservation officers (WCO) will participate in Operation Dry Water, a nationally coordinated effort to conduct enhanced boating under the influence (BUI) enforcement. Boaters are reminded that the legal limit for operating any watercraft, powered or unpowered, is .08% blood alcohol concentration.
“I want to encourage people to be very, very careful this weekend,” Charlie Charlesworth, PFBC Commissioner said. “Possibly because of the heat. Heat and alcohol don’t mix. So, we’re going to have a zero-tolerance for BUI, boating under the influence,” he continued.
WCOs are trained to detect signs of impaired boating and conduct sobriety tests on the water. There were 60 boating-under-the-influence arrests in 2020, an increase from 45 in 2019.