A Maine game warden keeps an eye on boating activity on Sebago Lake. PHOTO BY JOEL CRABTREE/MDIFW

Game wardens crack down on drunk boating, violations

ELLSWORTH — Don’t drink and drive anything, including your boat.

That was the central message of Operation Dry Water, which wrapped up recently in Maine.

The effort was part of a nationwide law enforcement campaign to curb drinking and boating.

With temperatures in the 80s, many Mainers and visitors were hitting the water and game wardens reported heavy boating traffic. Eighty game wardens spent over 1,200 combined hours enforcing recreational boating regulations and inspecting nearly 2,500 watercraft carrying 5,400 operators and passengers.

While most boaters were following safety rules, those that were found in violation of Maine’s boating laws were either warned or charged. The most common violations encountered by game wardens generally relate to safety equipment, registration requirements, safe operation and boating while intoxicated.

More than 100 summonses and 328 warnings were issued to boaters the weekend of June 29-July 1. Eight people were arrested on charges of boating while intoxicated across Maine with the highest reported blood alcohol content coming in at .22. (The limit in Maine is .08 for those 21 years old or more.)

In Division C, which is based in Bangor and includes much of Hancock County, one boater was charged with operating under the influence. The 18 officers patrolling the district also issued 19 boating citations and 61 warnings. Ten non-boating violations were also issued.

Statewide, wardens encountered close to 50 non-boating related violations, two of which involved adults who provided a location for minors to consume alcohol.

Wardens will continue safety efforts throughout the summer. They remind boaters that boating laws exist to keep everyone safe as they enjoy Maine’s 6,000 lakes, rivers and ponds.

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