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The original item was published from 6/13/2023 8:16:08 AM to 8/2/2023 12:00:04 AM.

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Posted on: June 13, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Busy Weekend for Marine Deputies Early in the Season

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The following information is preliminary and subject to change as the incident is currently under investigation.  Events in this press release may change as the investigation progresses.

Kootenai County, Idaho – With nicer weather occurring in Kootenai County, marine deputies have seen an increase of boats on the water for this time of year.  In May of 2022, there were zero charges issued for operating under the influence (OUI) of alcohol/other intoxicants, and six for the month of June 2022.  Thus far in 2023, marine deputies have charged 13 individuals (6 in May, 7 in June) with OUI.   One of the charges included a serious injury from a boat propeller to a passenger of a vessel.  The passenger was struck multiple times with the propeller after he entered the water to urinate while the vessel was making way.  This incident occurred on Saturday, June 10th, and sent the patient to Kootenai Health for serious injuries.  

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that while not illegal to consume an alcoholic beverage while operating a vessel, the .08 Blood/Breath Alcohol Content is easier to reach than on the roadway.  Environmental factors such as dehydration, food intake, and heat exposure can alter the process of alcohol entering and exiting the body.  The Sheriff’s Office would like to encourage operators of vessels to refrain from alcohol consumption while they are boating.  In 2021, Kootenai County had three boating related fatalities occur, with alcohol being a major contributing factor in all three.  Kootenai County issued 53 OUI charges in the past two boating seasons and is on track to surpass that this year.  

In addition to alcohol negatively effecting the boating community, inexperience and negligence also contribute to water related disasters.  At no time while the vessel is making way through the water should occupants be riding on the bow (front) or stern (rear) outside of the seating areas.  These acts are occurring daily and are unsafe as well as discouraged from boat manufacturers.   Violations of safety laws such as negligent operation and improper personal floatation devices (life jackets) will likely result in a citation as death is a likely result of continued unsafe practices.

Any boating or boating law related questions can be sent to marine@kcgov.us as well is information on safety classes offered free of charge by the Sheriff’s Office.  

Sheriff Robert B. Norris
By: Sergeant Ryan Miller

Contact: Lt. Zachary Sifford
Office: 208-446-2245
PIO Cell: 208-758-1045
sopio@kcgov.us

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