Boat patrols to be out in mass on Lake Tahoe


The South Lake Tahoe Police Department marine units will be actively involved in California law enforcement officers Operation Dry Water June 28-30.

Officers Steve O'Brien and Dave Gottlieb on the SLTPD boat. Photo/LTN file

Officers Steve O’Brien and Dave Gottlieb on the SLTPD boat. Photo/LTN file

Operation Dry Water is an annual nationwide effort to highlight the risks and dangers of operating boats under the influence. The stepped up enforcement raises awareness of operating boats under the influence of alcohol or drugs in advance of the Fourth of July holiday.

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effect of cold-water immersion. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion – “stressors” common to the boating environment – intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

In California, it is against the law to operate a boat with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more. A person with a BAC less than 0.08 percent may also be arrested if conditions are deemed to be unsafe.


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Comments (6)
  1. MTT says - Posted: June 27, 2013

    In reality what does this mean?

    Are they going to be randomly flagging down boats in open water to do; What?

    Anyone know the price (Just for Fuel) to operate those SLTPD Boats?

  2. tahoeadvocate says - Posted: June 27, 2013

    Good question MTT. Why does the city pay for police boats? Oh, by the way, the fire department has a boat as well.

  3. GMAB says - Posted: June 28, 2013

    How would you like to be capsized or injured far from the shore and know there are no emergency services coming because they can’t buy gas? The PD boat program would not be able to operate for the 3 MONTHS of the WHOLE BOATING SEASON without state paid boating safety grants. If you did any research you would realize that part of the lake is in the jurisdiction of the SLTPD/SLTFD. There is also a mutual aid agreement. Or maybe you can swim (for the less than 15 minutes you would survive) or try to tread water until the Coast Guard boat on the NORTH SHORE can make it there. The mentality of some people. GMAB,,,

  4. tahoeadvocate says - Posted: June 28, 2013

    There are several government agencies with boats on Lake Tahoe. The county sheriff has them, the US Coast Guard has them. My question is why the city of SLT?
    I believe their city boundary ends at the lake. Do they need this to patrol the Keys? If so, why would it ever leave the Keys? Sounds like money which should be spent on other city needs. Also, the grant money you refer to isn’t free money, it’s our taxes.

    Also, I have an emergency assist number in my boat which I call. It is a private service for which I pay annually.

  5. GMAB says - Posted: June 28, 2013

    Operation Dry Water: Stand by, and prepare to be boarded
    Alcohol has an intensified effect when combined with the additional stressors such as the sun, wind, noise, and motion common to the boating environment.
    Beginning today (June 28, 2013) and throughout this weekend, one of the largest police operations of the year will take place. For three days, maritime units nationwide will be participating in the joint US Coast Guard / National Association of State Boating Law Enforcement Administrators (NASBLA) effort OPERATION DRY WATER and expectations are high.

    An estimated 4,500 officers from more than 500 departments in all 50 states (as well as six territories and trusts) will be working special patrol to ensure that impaired boaters are detected, apprehended, and prosecuted.

    In the four years since the annual program began NASBLA estimates that over 1200 impaired operators have been apprehended, 337 in 2012 alone.
    BUI: A Deadly Crime
    Unfortunately, boating under the influence is both a deadly and frequently-encountered aspect of American recreational boating. For many boaters, a weekend on the water and a beer in cooler go hand in hand.

    While society in general has finally begun to view driving a car under the influence as an unacceptable, practice, that same stigma has not transferred to boating in the same condition.

    When peer pressure is lacking and personal responsibility is non-existent the only option left is for law enforcement to do what we are ultimately paid for — provide a visible deterrent when possible and make arrests when necessary.

    Although Operation Dry Water has not eliminated boating under the influence — nor can we realistically expect this to be an ultimate outcome — it has led to measurable reductions in alcohol related incidents.

    Coast Guard statistics indicate that in 2009 alcohol was a contributing factor in a staggering 19 percent of boating fatalities. Statistics for 2011 indicate that number had dropped to 17 percent, due in great part to the success of Operation Dry Water and the increased level of experience and training gained by those officers who have participated.

    BUI Facts
    Boating under the influence is against the law in all US jurisdictions and convicted operators can expect to face severe fine, loss of operator privileges and even jail time. Here are some other BUI facts:

    • Impaired operators can be found on any waterway and in any type or size of vessel — whether it’s a cabin cruiser off the New Jersey shore or a canoe on a Missouri back water, the risk is ever present
    • The average boater has only 110 hours of experience per year, meaning they are far less competent than when they’re behind the wheel of their motor vehicle
    • Alcohol has an intensified effect when combined with the additional stressors such as the sun, wind, noise, and motion common to the boating environment — this can make even a “buzzed” boater a deadly prospect.

  6. GMAB says - Posted: June 28, 2013

    Your private assist boat service is a AAA type boat on the water. Vessel Assist is good but unfortunately they could be there to assist TOWING your boat in 5 minutes or never. Look at any real map to see jurisdictions especially if you’re a mariner. GMAB,,,