Group touts success of boater sobriety campaign

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The grassroots, privately funded Designated Operator safety campaign is making inroads with recreational boaters in encouraging sober boating, according to initial reports.

“We're encouraged by the preliminary reports from in-the-field water enforcement officers,” said Jim Salscheider, executive director of the Lake Havasu (Ariz.) Marine Association, in a statement.

“Designated Operator's mission is to spread the word that sobriety is imperative whenever you're behind the wheel of a boat,” he added. “The goal is to reduce the number of impaired boat operators and make our waterways safer and more enjoyable for everyone. With the support and input of our local law enforcement agencies we're able to monitor the success of this campaign as the boating season progresses.”

Organizers said local law enforcement officials noticed a difference during the busy Memorial Day weekend.

"We've seen a lot of designated [boat] operators on the water,” Sgt. Jerry Burns of the Lake Havasu City police told the local newspaper.

Sgt. Doug Schuster of the Mohave County Sheriff's Office said, “We’ve made a lot of contacts with boaters and we’re seeing a lot of designated operators in place.”