On hot day marine patrol keeps tabs on boaters, and more

On hot day marine patrol keeps tabs on boaters, and more »Play Video
The marine unit stopped some people on jet skis on Lake Tapps because someone's life jacket was not secured.
LAKE TAPPS, Wash.-- Boat safety is important all across the Puget Sound area--and on Lake Tapps it's no different.

As summer heats up, Bonney Lake Police Department here has its own marine unit to make sure everyone is safe on the water.

"We're going to do a quick inspection on you guys then we're going to get you out of here," Officer Todd Green of the police marine unit tells boaters.

"We don't want to ruin anybody's fun. The people that are following the rules that are having a great time-- we have to keep those people safe--and that's what it's about out here," Officer Todd Green of the Bonney Lake Police Department.

This weekend, officers are taking part in a national campaign - operation dry water - they're looking for any boaters operating under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

"I can't say that I've ever run into a boater where we've had an issue with intoxication or anything. Maybe I've just been lucky," boat owner Steve Jarman, said.

But others are not so lucky.

According to U.S. Coast Guard boating statistics, alcohol is the most common factor in fatal boating accidents.

"I just don't think boating and alcohol mix. There's plenty of time after you get done," Jarman, the boat owner said.

Often, the first sign of impairment that officers notice is how people operate their boats.

"So if it's traveling too close to shore, if it's cutting other boats off, if it's something that looks reckless--that something we may look at," Green said.

At Pierce County park along Lake Tapps more safety inspections.

Deputies are looking for all the items required under coastguard rules.

"The biggest thing that most people who are new boaters don't have an idea about, is when their boats are 16-feet or bigger they have to have a type 4 which is the seat cushion type," said Deputy Scott Mock of the Pierce County Sheriff's office

Officers are also making sure people are wearing life jackets.

The marine unit stopped some people on jet skis because someone's life jacket was not secured.

"He didn't even have it zipped up, it wasn't buckled," Green said.