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Slow start for western Washington boaters this Fourth of July weekend

Operation Dry Water is in effect through tomorrow. King County is increasing boat patrols to keep everyone safe from those boating under the influence.

SEATTLE — If you have plans to go out on the water, Operation Dry Water is in effect. Several agencies are increasing patrols to keep everyone safe from operating a boat under the influence. The effort runs through Monday's July 4 celebrations. 

Deputy Matthew Martin with the King County Marine Rescue Unit told KING 5 News that they haven't given out any Boating Under The Influence citations Sunday. Even with the warmer weather the last couple of days, he said everyone has been pretty safe on the lake.

The King County Marine Rescue Unit was out on the water this 4th of July weekend. They were one of the only vessels out on the water on this drizzly day. 

"A lot of boat owners have their boats ready for the season, they just haven't been able to take them out," said Martin.

They are taking part in the national Operation Dry Water campaign, but so far this weekend, no BUIs have been handed out. 

"The boaters in Washington are quite educated in BUI, you just don't see it a lot. Also, this year the summer hasn't arrived, so the boaters haven't shown up in big numbers yet," Martin added.

Passengers can drink alcohol on a boat, it is only the operator that can't be under the influence. 

"If they're responsibly boating, we're not likely to have a BUI contact with them," said Martin.

BUI isn't their only focus this weekend, as patrols were out making sure everyone followed safe boating rules.

While it is officially summer, they're gearing up for a possibly warmer holiday tomorrow. They aren't the only ones waiting for a warm up on the water.

"We get our lucky days and we get our bad days so we go with the punches," said David Young who is the General Manager at Woodmark Waterfront Adventures.

When the sun is out, Woodmark Waterfront Adventures has all their vessels booked out. 

"We're hoping for it to turn back to sun pretty soon," said Young.

As more people head to the lake, the Marine Rescue Unit will also be there. 

"I wanna see people come out and enjoy themselves. That's why our unit exists so they can safely enjoy the water," said Martin.

Deputy Martin told KING 5 that the most dangerous vessel they had last season was actually paddle boards. Life jackets are required, but he said often people don't put it on and if they fall in the lake, that's when they get into trouble.

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