Additionally, Marine patrol units from Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Sacramento and Alameda counties, plus the United States Coast Guard, will be conducting a boating safety enforcement operation on Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31. The operation is intended to promote safe boating through education and enforcement on the waterways near Discovery Bay.
The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Marine Services Unit reminds boaters of the following rules:
• All vessels must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest for each person. The life jacket must fit the person intending to wear it. Children under 12 must wear a life jacket.
• You must be at least 16 years old to operate a power boat or personal watercraft. All persons on a personal watercraft are required to wear an approved life jacket.
• Boats more than 16 feet long are required to carry a throwable flotation device, which must be readily accessible.
• Always travel at a safe speed. Slow down in narrow channels and blind areas and navigate on the right side of the waterway. At a cross waterway, the boat on the right has the right of way.
• Always carry an emergency kit that includes a flashlight, warm clothing, cell phone, VHF radio and chart. Boaters are encouraged to call Sheriff’s Dispatch at 925-646-2441 for emergencies on the water. Be sure to file a float plan before you depart.
• The Marine Service Unit will be enforcing the no-tow zone in Indian Slough from Discovery Bay to Orwood Resort. This includes Werner Cut.
• Boating under the influence (BUI) enforcement will be a high priority for Marine Services deputies. Those arrested for BUI will face the same consequences as those who drive a motor vehicle under the influence, including fines and possible incarceration. The Marine Services Unit arrested 30 people for boating under the influence during 2008, an increase of nearly 100 percent over 2007.
The “ABC’s of Boating,” a handbook of boating rules, is available from most boating shops. Boaters can also go to the California Department of Boating and Waterways Web site, www.dbw.ca.gov, for more boating safety information.
For more information, call Public Information Officer Jimmy Lee at 925-313-2643.