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5/17/2013 6:01:00 AM
Checkpoints looking for drunk, unsafe boaters on Colorado River

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Boaters who plan to be somewhere in the Colorado River system this weekend can expect to pass through law enforcement checkpoints manned by five separate agencies.

Officers with Arizona Game and Fish, the Kingman Police Department, the Bullhead City Police Department, the Nevada Division of Wildlife and the National Park Service will be on the lookout for impaired boat operators and those who don't have the required safety gear on board.

An arrest for operating under the influence, known as an OUI, carries the same penalties as a DUI.

All boaters passing through the checkpoints will be subject to a systematic safety inspection ensuring proper life jackets and working fire extinguishers are on board.

"The responsibility for boating safety among watercraft users is becoming increasingly important on our waterways," said Velma Holt-Buhr, the west sector supervisor for Game and Fish Region 3 in Kingman. "The area is growing quickly and we share these waterways with California and Nevada. It's becoming very congested, which lends itself to more potential hazards."

Holt advises boaters to review boating regulations before launching.

This weekend's enforcement is not the only one planned for the system.

An enforcement action last year resulted in nine boat operators who were arrested on OUI charges, including two who were reportedly under the influence of drugs, according to Zen Mocarski, a program manager with Game and Fish,

While the overall compliance percentage was about 79 percent at two checkpoints, several boat operators were cited for not having the proper number of life jackets, expired registration, underage consumption, and lack of a working fire extinguisher.

The most common infraction regarding equipment was lack of a Type 4 throwable device.

On average, said Mocarski, about 24 percent of boat operators who were contacted last year had consumed alcohol, but that doesn't mean they were over the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

However, he also pointed out there were several drownings at Lake Mead last year, some that were alcohol-related.

Game and Fish offers classes for boaters who might be unsure of what's required. For more information, log on to the department's website at

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: Roger That

I don’t know why Kingman officers would need to assist in policing the river except to use it as justification for budget increases, as the other agencies do.

You can’t swing a dead cat on the lake without hitting Havasu, San Bernardino cops, Sheriffs from CA and AZ, Game and Fish, ATF and U.S. Marshalls on a holiday weekend, so I guess why not Kingman?

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: pl .....

they're probably looking for anyone trying to find Elmer Whittaker's body. I am not afraid.

Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2013
Article comment by: Jim So

Kingman Police patroling the water? Do they even have a boat? Why are we wasting city tax money to patrol a river that is not even in Kingman Police area of patrol?

Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013
Article comment by: Throwing Up

Why is the Kingman Police Department conducting an OUI detail. The don't have any water ways since they covered up the sewer ponds.

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