Multiple agencies will be out on the Colorado River and surrounding roads over the holiday weekend, with special enforcement patrols aiming to keep the river safe, according to both Arizona and California law.
Officers from the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department and other agencies will be present on the water as thousands of people enjoy the river, sunshine and the many riverside establishments along the Parker Strip and Lake Havasu. Additional patrols on land and by air will also be taking place over the weekend.
In particular, officers will be looking for people operating boats and personal watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and people operating in a reckless manner, according to a release by San Bernardino County.
“Persons stopped operating watercraft under the influence of alcohol and or drugs will be arrested and booked into jail,” the statement says. “Deputies will also be closely watching for children under the age of 13 without personal floatation devices while aboard vessels. The law requires all persons under the age of 13 while onboard a vessel wear a personal floatation device. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department encourages all persons to wear personal floatation devices while on the waterways as it is a proven fact personal floatation devices save lives.”
A few laws may not be well-known by all boaters. They will be enforced too, and include these:
- It’s illegal to ride on the transom (back) or bow (front) of a boat while it’s in motion. Occupants must be inside the boat
- When approaching a law enforcement vessel with activated blue lights, all other watercraft must come off plane and pass the law enforcement vessel at a no-wake speed, so as not to endanger the officers during the stop and reduce the chance of damaging boats
- All California boat operators between 16 and 25 years old are required to have in their possession a Boater Education Card (next year this increases to 35 years old)
- It’s illegal to cause a wake that causes damage or collision
- Motorized watercraft must yield to non-motorized watercraft
- No towing skiers, wakeboarders, tubes etc. after sunset or before sunrise
Happy 4th of July weekend!