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Agencies Contact 144 Watercraft During Recent Checkpoint

Six Arrests Made, 40 Citations Issued

KINGMAN, Ariz. –– A recent OUI-Safety Checkpoint at along the Colorado River near Topock, Ariz. resulted in the removal of six individuals operating under the influence (OUI).

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, Mohave County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway enforced Arizona's OUI legal limit of a .08 blood-alcohol content and inspected watercraft for required safety equipment.

Four of the arrests were for OUI alcohol and two for OUI drugs. Forty of the 144 vessel operators, or 28 percent, had consumed some alcohol.

"That means more than one in four operators had consumed alcohol," said Karin Perkins, law enforcement program manager for the Game and Fish Region 3 office in Kingman. "It is unfortunate more people aren't designating a sober operator before launching their watercraft."

The two most common safety violations were not having a fire extinguisher, which resulted in 17 citations, and no Type IV throwable, 15 citations. There were six citations for not having enough life jackets, one for a child not wearing a life jacket, and one for no registration.

"Each of these citations can be avoided by simply reviewing the regulations," Perkins said. "There's a reason for these items being required on watercraft and it is certainly cheaper to be compliant than to receive a citation and then have to become compliant afterwards."

Perkins was also concerned with watercraft users not knowing where the safety equipment was located.

"We had a number of contacts with people who had the required equipment, but it took them a long time to find it," she explained. "In a life-threatening situation that equipment isn't going to do much good unless you can find it quickly. Take a few minutes before launching to know where everything is located."

Additional multi-agency OUI checkpoints will occur on the Colorado River and its reservoirs throughout the boating season.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department encourages boaters to take part in a boating education class. Interested parties can look for available classes on the department website, http://www.azgfd.gov/boating.


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