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State Parks Boating Program officials urge boaters to be extra safe Fourth of July weekend

Thousands of boaters will hit the water this July 4 holiday to enjoy the weather and to get the best views of waterfront fireworks shows. Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission’s Boating Program urges boaters to stay safe and pack extra patience.

"For some boaters, the July 4 celebration is one of the few times they take their boat out this summer,” said Sgt. Ryan Boyle with the Bonney Lake Police Department. “With thousands of boaters on the waterways, patience will run thin, mistakes will happen and a fun-filled day can turn tragic when alcohol is involved.”

In Washington, a boater is considered “boating under the influence” (BUI) with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. A boater can be arrested for operating a boat under the influence. According to State Parks Boating Program, 20 percent of Washington boating fatalities involved alcohol or other intoxicants.

“We want everyone to have fun while celebrating this Independence Day with their families and friends,” Boyle added. “People just need to remember that being on the water all day can exacerbate alcohol's effects, so think about holding off until after you’ve safely made it home. It’s important that boaters don’t endanger boaters and others on the water.”

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission administers the state’s Boating Program, which provides leadership in boating safety and environmental education and outreach. The goal of the program is to reduce accidents and fatalities, increase stewardship of Washington waterways, and keep recreational boating a safe, accessible and enjoyable pastime. The program works with law enforcement agencies across Washington to promote boating safety education and to monitor on-the-water activities.

For more information on the Boating Program, visit www.parks.wa.gov/boating

For more information on boating regulations, visit www.parks.wa.gov/boating

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