The first holiday weekend of the summer is upon us, and as people prepare to get on the river, law enforcement agencies are getting ready to ensure public safety. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Colorado River Station will be conducting it’s Memorial Day Marine Enforcement Operation beginning Friday and ending on Monday (Memorial Day).
Deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department will be involved in “enhanced patrol activities” on the waterways of the Colorado River and will be deployed from the Nevada State line to the Riverside county line. Deputies will patrol on land, water and air. This allows for faster response times to emergencies.
Deputies will be monitoring the waterways for operators operating watercraft under the influence and operating their watercraft in a reckless manner. People stopped for operating watercraft under the influence of alcohol and or drugs will be arrested and booked into jail, according to a press release from the agency.
Other violations commonly seen by marine patrol deputies are transom/bow riding and blue light violations. With the increasing popularity of wake boarding, wake surfing, and tubing, deputies say they are noticing an increase of people on boats who are transom riding. All persons on board a boat while underway (not moored or at anchor) shall be within the confines of the vessel so the risk of falling overboard or being struck by a propeller is greatly reduced, according to California law. The blue light law requires all vessels approaching a law enforcement vessel with activated blue lights to come off plane and pass at a no wake speed so not to endanger the deputies during the stop and to reduce the chance of damaging boats.
Deputies will be conducting carriage equipment inspections of all boats stopped for violations. These Carriage requirements include; a type IV throwable PFD immediately available, enough PFD’s for every person on board the vessel readily accessible, a servicable fire extinguisher and a sounding 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.
All California boat operators ages 16-50 years old are required to have in their possession a California Boater Education Card issued by the CA Division of Boating and Waterways. This age increases to 60 years in 2024. For information on obtaining a card go to CaliforniaBoaterCard.com. Arizona residents do not have this requirement, even if stopped by California law enforcement.