SACRAMENTO — Now that the weather has encouraged weekend boaters, the Sacramento Police Marine Unit has begun regular patrols along the Sacramento and American Rivers.
The unit sees common problems each year during the start of the boating season. Fair weather boaters are often eager to get on the water and fail to carefully check equipment like trailer tires and brake lights. Engines sitting through the winter months can also be a problem, stalling after boats are launched.
“They’ll get their boat out there and they’ll be in distress, and then we get called to pull them back in,” said Marine Unit officer Jason Warren. “The last thing we want is someone to come out here and get hurt.”
Speeding through caution zones like boat docks and launch ramps, as well as along beaches, is also a problem. Some of the behavior is caused by driving under the influence, officials say. The boat is equipped with breathalyzers.
“If you’re over the .08 and we catch you, you will go to jail, there’s no question about that,” said Warren.
A big issue is also alcohol on city beaches, which is against the law. Officers on the boat spend a lot of time speaking to beach goers on the loud speakers.
There is a $300 fine, but in spirit of having people enjoy the water safely, more often warnings are issued.