MSHP Water Patrol on look out for intoxicated boating
LAKE OF THE OZARKS —
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said its Water Patrol Division would be conducting BWI (boating while intoxicated) checkpoints throughout the month of August on The Lake of the Ozarks.
The Water Patrol Division added four new officers to its staff in order to have more eyes on the lookout for intoxicated boating.
One officer said boaters could be pulled over for offenses similar to driving a motor vehicle such as erratic driving, registration violations, etc.
The officer said that while those indicators are similar, the water provides a unique element to intoxicated driving.
"We want everyone to be able to acclimate to the different factors that are out here. There's a lot of stressors involved with boating that aren't involved with operating a vehicle so when you add those stressors onto someone who maybe isn't experienced operating a boat and you add alcohol, it just seems to magnify," Stacey Mosher with the MSHP Water Patrol Division said.
Mosher also said alcohol is involved in too many fatal boating accidents.
"We do understand that alcohol is part of boating so not everyone that drinks is going to crash their boat and not everyone that crashes their boat is impaired or intoxicated, but historically if you put those two instances together, a really high number of our serious and fatal crashes are all related to alcohol use. That's what we're trying to do, keep people safe on the lake," Mosher said.
2016 data from the US Coast Guard revealed alcohol as the leading known factor in fatal boat crashes. The US Coast Guard also named The Lake of the Ozarks one of the deadliest bodies of water in the country.