In the 1980s, the Arizona State Legislature established the Law Enforcement and Boating Safety Fund (LEBSF, Arizona Revised Statute 5-383) and the State Lake Improvement Fund (SLIF, Arizona Revised Statute 5-382) to provide grants to counties to support boating law enforcement and safety. LEBSF funds are derived from a portion of license taxes paid when boats are registered. SLIF funds are derived from a portion of motor vehicle fuel tax and watercraft license tax. Both of the grants are managed by the Arizona State Parks Grant Programs Division.
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office began its Boat Patrol Program in 1986. The program operates primarily out of the Page Substation and services Lake Powell and portions of the Colorado River.
The Sheriff’s Office currently has a 27-foot all-weather Boston whaler, a
23-foot Koffler jet drive boat for patrol on the Colorado River, and
two jet skis for harbor and low water patrol.
Program Successes & Initiatives
Since the inception of the program, the Sheriff’s Office has performed many water rescues in inclement weather, rescues from sinking vessels, and recoveries of drowning victims. In addition to the rescue component of boat patrol, the officers actively enforce all Title 5 watercraft operation laws. We recently started an outreach program, “I got caught wearing my life jacket.” T-shirts are given to children who are wearing their life vest and to people who were ticketed the previous year for life vest violations. The t-shirts are a reminder of the importance of water safety practices. The Sheriff’s Office also works with Arizona Game and Fish Department to provide boating safety classes in the Page area and water safety classes for elementary students.
Operating Under the Influence (OUI) Check Points
Each year, the Sheriff’s Office partners with other water law enforcement agencies to host an Operating Under the Influence (OUI) check point on Lake Powell.
The goal of this program is to increase public safety by removing
intoxicated and under the influence boaters from the lake. The Sheriff’s
Office also works with other water law enforcement agencies in drug and
alcohol interdiction of boaters on Lake Powell and the Colorado River.