A grass-roots, privately funded boating safety campaign created and implemented by the Lake Havasu City Marine Association

MISSION:  To instill an awareness among recreational boaters that assigning the responsibility of a sober “Designated Operator” will significantly reduce the number of “under the influence” related boating accidents and fatalities on the water.

GOAL:  To make “Designated Operator” synonymous with Colorado River/Lake Havasu safe boating practices.

IMPLEMENTATION:  Utilize a combination of boating media resources to broadcast the message.  Campaign began on March 1, 2013 and continues today.

Lake Havasu Marine Association


Arizona Game and Fish, Arizona State Parks, Bureau of Land Management, LakeRacer LLC/Desert Storm, London Bridge Yacht Club, Mohave County Sheriff, Lake Havasu City Police, San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department and Southern California Marine Association.  Participating restaurants/bars include Pirate Cove Resort, Havasu Springs Resort, Turtle Grille/Nautical Beachfront Resort, London Bridge Resort, Black Meadow Landing, Shugrue’s, and Topock 66.


1.  Does this boating safety campaign ban alcohol on boats?

No.  Designated Operator is a totally voluntary awareness program for boat operators.  It’s sole purpose is to persuade a boat operator to voluntarily refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages or ingest substances that may impair his or her ability to safely operator a boat.

2.  Does this mean passengers on board a boat can’t drink alcohol either?

No.  Designated Operator does not prohibit non-operating passengers on a boat to drink.  It only applies to the person who is responsible for operating the boat on that particular day.

3.  If I rent a boat or PWC and receive an OUI (Operating Under the Influence), what may happen?

First, you will be subject to possible penalties as prescribed by law for that offense including arrest.  Secondly, the rental company may also impose additional financial penalties as well (possible automatic forfeiture of your rental deposit).  Check with your rental company regarding their policy about operator OUIs.

The video below is a recent news report aired by NBC News Channel 4 in Los Angeles regarding the dangers of intoxicated boat driving — please support our Designated Operator campaign and stay sober when you’re behind the helm.


BOATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE GUIDE prepared by the Olive Law Firm

This “Guide” outlines the potential results of boating while intoxicated. “Boating Under the Influence” (BUI) is a criminal offense in all 50 states.  Every boater should be award of the consequences — be informed — be wise — be safe.  Don’t drive drunk!

Click this link to read the “Guide”




Designated Captain is a logical and much-needed next step in our effort to minimize the number of intoxicated boat operators on the water, especially on busy holiday weekends.

The Lake Havasu Marine Association has a list of local certified Coast Guard captains who are licensed to provide for-hire boat driving services to the general public, using their own boat or a rental.

“It has become apparent, thanks to our Designated Operator awareness campaign, that an increasing number of boaters understand the seriousness involved while operating a boat under the influence of excessive alcohol or drugs,” says Jim Salscheider, President & CEO of the Lake Havasu Marine Association. “If boaters want to avoid that possibility entirely they now have a means to do so by hiring a sober Coast Guard captain to do the driving for them.”

The Designated Captain Program Coordinator is U.S. Coast Guard Captain, Dale Bowers.  Please contact him for more information at 928-486-5782.


Arizona Watersports 928-453-5558

Havasu Adventure Company 928-680-6151

Nautical Sports Center 928-855-7000

Sandbar Powersports/Rentals 928-854-4242

Wet Monkey Rentals 928-855-2022