The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Marine Enforcement Unit will be stationed on area waterways today and throughout the holiday weekend looking for boating and illegal fireworks violations.
Special emphasis will be given to the Newman Lake boat parade, the Spokane River, and Liberty Lake, officials said.
Four teams will be stationed at the two Spokane Valley lakes and the river checking for boating violations that include life jacket use and boater safety card registrations, as well as use of illegal fireworks both on, and off the water, officials said.
On Sunday, three enforcement teams will be placed on Newman Lake during the community’s annual July 4 boat parade, which has been a problem in the past with boats filled over capacity, as well as impaired operators, officials said. The legal limit for alcohol consumption is a blood-alcohol level of .08 — same as for drivers on area roadways.
If problems persist, this could be the last year of the parade, said Deputy Wade Nelson.
“If it gets to be too out of control we will shut it down,” Nelson said.
After the parade, teams will head to the Spokane River checking for life jacket compliance. All persons floating the river between the Stateline and the Centennial Trail bridge at Plante’s Ferry Park are required to wear life vests. That stretch of water is closed to motorized vessels until Oct. 14.
In addition, boaters should avoid the Barker Road Bridge because of debris stacking up against pylons due to construction on the road.
Marine enforcement teams will spend Sunday evening on Liberty Lake during the fireworks displays, Nelson said. Fireworks of any kind, including sparklers, are illegal in Spokane County.
On Monday, enforcement teams will target local launches and ramps to conduct boat inspections, as well as continued life jacket compliance checks on the river.