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Pennsylvania's BUI/DUI Joint Task Force Pilot Program: An Innovative Enforcement Partnership Approach

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 72 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2003 Pages: 1-5
George C. Geisler Jr.
Date Published
August 2003
5 pages
This article describes the efforts of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and their partners, to enforce boating under the influence laws on Pennsylvania’s waterways.
Boating under the influence (BUI) is not only a prevalent problem, it is also a generally accepted practice among boaters. Unlike driving under the influence(DUI), which most of the population agrees is unacceptable, boating while drinking is considered a normal leisure activity. BUI usually also involves a later DUI because drunk boaters get off of their boats and into their cars to drive home. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission employs approximately 100 waterway conservation officers (WCOs) who act as the State police of the State’s waterways. In an effort to keep the waterways safe, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission created a task force that included the Pennsylvania DUI Association, the Bureau of Highway Safety and Traffic Engineering, county DUI program coordinators, the Liquor Control Board, the Bureau of Alcohol Education, and the DUI Association. The task force intensified patrol enforcement both on the water and on the land surrounding popular water destinations. A study of the task force efforts in increasing and intensifying WCO patrols showed that the patrols were successful in both deterring boaters from drinking while operating a boat and in stopping those who were intoxicated. The task force initiative is an example of how law enforcement and other agencies involved with public safety can partner to help reduce prevalent public health threats such as BUI and DUI.