Utah officers target drunk boaters as part of holiday weekend safety blitz

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SALT LAKE CITY — This holiday weekend, officers are tracking down safety problems on the water, including drunk boaters.

Officers with Utah State Parks are ramping up enforcement at several popular boating spots, including Jordanelle Reservoir, Willard Bay and Bear Lake. Additional officers are focused on Flaming Gorge.

"We try to hit where we're going to have the most impact, be able to talk to the most people, educate more people," said Lt. Drew Patterson with Utah State Parks.

They're joining law enforcement across the country in the nationwide campaign Operation Dry Water, which raises awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence.

Patterson and five other officers were on patrol at Jordanelle Reservoir on Saturday. They arrested at least one man for DUI and gave a number of citations and warnings for other violations while doing vessel safety checks.

"The biggest thing that we find are undersized life jackets," Patterson said. "An adult has a kid life jacket that doesn't fit them."

He stressed life jackets are particularly important for Utah families regardless of how they're enjoying the water, from standup paddleboards to tubes and boats, because several people have drowned this year.

Other boat operators received warnings or citations by having expired insurance, registration or fire extinguishers.

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Michael Locklear


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