El Dorado County is one of the more desirable areas in the region for waterborne recreation. As the season changes less people are using the many waterways in El Dorado County. As boating activities slow down from the summer of 2012 the Sheriff's office Boat Patrol Unit will appropriately modify their schedule to meet the off season boating needs.
To provide safe water recreation in the county Sheriff John D'Agostini has maintained regular boat patrols on eight of the navigable waterways within the borders of El Dorado County. Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake, and Lower Echo Lake are patrolled by Deputies from the Sheriff's South Lake Tahoe Station while Folsom Lake , Jenkinson Lake, Union Valley Reservoir, Ice House Reservoir and the South Fork of the American River are patrolled by Deputies from the Placerville Office. Between the two offices the Sheriff's Boat Patrol Unit maintains 4 aluminium patrol boats, 1 rigid hull inflatable boat, 2 personal water crafts, 2 inflatable whitewater rafts, and 2 inflatable kayaks to not only patrol the many diverse waterways throughout the county but also to conduct water search and rescue operations.
To fund Sheriff D'Agostini's water safety efforts in 2012 the Sheriff's Office applied for and received a California Department of Boating and Waterways grant. With this grant and boat registration fees the Sheriff's Office was able to fund Boat Patrol activities with no cost to the County general fund. In addition to this funding the Sheriff's Office successfully applied for and received a supplemental equipment grant from the California Department of Boating and Waterways that funded the acquisition of dive team and boating safety equipment.
Throughout the year the main objective of the Sheriff's Boat Patrols is to provide a safe water experience. At times this requires the Deputies to make arrests, issue citations and give verbal warnings. During the 2012 summer season Boat Patrol Officers were very active, assisting 390 vessels and contacting 4389 individuals. They conducted 20 searches for missing persons, 42 vessel inspections, investigated 13 boating accidents, issued 1563 verbal warnings, 204 citations, and made 6 arrests for Boating Under the Influence (BUI). Unfortunately during the 2012 season there were two fatalities on El Dorado County waterways.
Throughout the season Boating Officers regularly provide boating safety information to those they contact and provide boating safety presentations in group settings.
For more information on boating safety and education, visit the Department of Boating and Waterways website at http://www.dbw.ca.gov