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Deputies will patrol waterways

Sun., July 4, 2010, 1 a.m.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Marine Enforcement Unit will be stationed on area waterways through Monday looking for boating and illegal fireworks violations.

Special emphasis will be given to Newman Lake, the Spokane River and Liberty Lake, officials said.

Four teams were patrolling those waterways Saturday looking for 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.

Three enforcement teams will be placed on Newman Lake during the community’s annual July Fourth boat parade, which has been a problem for law enforcement in the past with boats filled over capacity and impaired operators, officials said. The legal limit for alcohol consumption is a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 – the 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. Life vests are required between the state line and the Centennial Trail Bridge at Plante’s Ferry Park. That stretch of water is closed to motorized vessels until Oct. 14.

Marine enforcement teams will spend the 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 launches and ramps at all Spokane County lakes to conduct boat inspections, as well as continued life jacket compliance checks on the river.


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