Utah boaters cited more for marijuana than alcohol over holiday weekend

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Over the July 4th holiday weekend, law enforcement officers joined forces to try and stop DUI on Utah’s waterways. It was called Operation Dry Water 2020. One of the more shocking results is how many boaters were cited for marijuana than alcohol. There were 25 citations for marijuana vs five DUIs.

Here’s what they discovered.

The officers made contact with more than 3,000 people and gave out citations and made arrests for alleged offenses like boating while intoxicated, possession of a controlled substance, open containers and more.

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According to a press release sent to ABC4 News from the Utah Department of Natural Resources-Utah State Parks:

Rangers and police officers set up multiple checkpoints at popular boating locations in Northern Utah. While this was an area of concentration, these types of operations and checks can occur anywhere throughout the state.

 “Boating on Utah’s waters is a great way to have fun and relax with friends and family; however mixing alcohol and boating can be a recipe for disaster,” Utah State Parks Boating Program Coordinator Ty Hunter said. “Impaired boating is no different than driving a car. It decreases your situational awareness, reflexes, and decision-making skills. It puts those in your boat and those around you at risk.” 

Here are the surprising totals

  • Number of officers: 35 
  • Number of agencies: 5 agencies DPR, DWR, WCSO, OPD, USFS, USFWS 
  • Locations: Deer Creek, Jordanelle, and Fred Hayes at Starvation state parks, and Causey Reservoir. 
  • People Contacted: 3051 
  • Vessels Contacted: 130 
  • Vehicles Contacted: 704 
  • Vessel Inspections: 110 
Utah State Park Ranger Gage Hoogveldt out on patrol at Deer Creek Reservoir. July 2019

Citations Issued:

  • Open Container – 12 
  • Minor in Possession – 6 
  • Possession of Marijuana – 25 
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – 26 
  • Tobacco – 4 
  • Firearms violation – 1 
  • Life Jackets – 14  Other Boating Violations – 26 
  • Other Vehicle Violations – 36 

Other Items:

  • • FST’s (Field Sobriety Tests): 34 
  • • Arrests: 6 
  • • Impounds: 5 
  • • Blood Draws: 5 
  • • Ignition Interlock: 1 

The stops and checkpoints occurred both on-the water and on the roadways near these areas. When pulled over, both the operators and occupants are asked specific questions and given specific tests.

State officials want everyone to remember the rules for intoxication are the same for boats and cars, being intoxicated in a boat can have life threatening consequences for both the operators and passengers.

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Tracy Smith
Tracy T. Smith is an award winning content producer/storyteller. He has a passionate interest in all things narrative and loves writing, photography, cinematography and visual storytelling.

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