Boat check

A Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission waterways conservation officer checks a boater.

The upcoming weekend would be a particularly bad time to be drinking in a boat on the Susquehanna River.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission announced its waterways conservation officers around the state will be on “heightened alert for those violating boating under the influence laws” Friday through Sunday.

Boating under the influence includes alcohol and drugs.

This weekend is part of a  nationwide event, called Operation Dry Water, a boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign.

“Boating under the influence is no different than driving a car after someone’s been drinking,” said Col. Corey Britcher, director of the commission’s Bureau of Law Enforcement. “Alcohol impairs an individual’s ability to operate a boat safely and puts the driver, his passengers and others on the water at risk.

“Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion — stressors common to the boating environment — intensify the effects of alcohol,” Britcher said.

So far this year, Fish and Boat Commission officers have arrested 11 people for boating under the influence in Pennsylvania.

In 2014, 93 were arrested statewide, including three in Lancaster County.

Last year, 17 people died in boating accidents. Alcohol was a factor in six of the accidents, the commission said.

The threshold for boating under the influence is the same as with motor vehicles, 0.08 percent for alcohol. If convicted, a boat operator could face fines and jail time.

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