Seafair Impaired Boating Emphasis begins Friday on Lake Washington

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) and cooperating agencies are preparing for the annual Impaired Boating Emphasis on Aug. 1-3, as part of the Seafair activities on Lake Washington. City, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies will converge in an effort to improve water safety through impaired boating enforcement.

As with similar enforcement emphasis in the past, the staging area for the event will be at Proctor Landing on Mercer Island. The WSP Mobile Impaired Driving Unit (MIDU), temporary detention facilities and prisoner support vehicles will be available to assist in the processing of boaters suspected of boating under the influence (BUI) or other crimes involved with unsafe usage of watercraft.

BUI is similar to driving under the influence (DUI) in that the per se legal limit is .08, or under the influence and/or affected by drugs. New BUI laws that went into effect last year include:

- Makes BUI a gross misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and 364 days in jail.

- Law enforcement can now require operators, suspected of BUI, to take a breath or blood test.

- Officers now have authority to issue citations to vessel accidents they did not witness and hold negligent and reckless boaters accountable.



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