LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

SEATTLE Thousands of spectators and boaters are expected to converge on Lake Washington for Seafair festivities this weekend. City, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies are stepping up Boating Under the Influence patrols to crack down on drunk boaters and people smoking illegally in public. Although recreational pot is legal in Washington, it's still illegal to smoke weed in public.

I think people have thought of boating as recreational for so long that they go have a drink of beer and have a good time, said Det. Mike Seifert with Mercer Island Police Marine Patrol. But a lot of people don t think about getting behind the wheel of a boat the same way they think about getting behind the wheel of the car when it comes to alcohol.

Officers are hoping to prevent a repeat of last year, where first responders dealt with a fatal drowning and serious prop injury. Alcohol was a factor.

The penalties for BUI s are stiffer. BUI s are now a gross misdemeanor with a fine up to $5,000 and up to a year in jail.

Read or Share this story: http://www.king5.com/story/news/2014/08/18/14039042/