LEXINGTON, Ky. – Thousands of law enforcement officers across the United States will be on heightened alert for those violating boating under the influence laws during the annual Operation Dry Water weekend on June 26-28. Operation Dry Water is a nationally coordinated heightened awareness and enforcement campaign, focused on deterring boaters from boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths and a leading factor in recreational boating accidents. Law enforcement agencies from every U.S. state and territory are expected to participate in Operation Dry Water weekend, focusing their efforts on detecting impaired boaters and educating the public about the dangers of boating under the influence. In 2014, alcohol use was the primary factor in nearly one-fourth (21 percent) of boater deaths.
“The decision about whether to drink and boat under the influence is a choice every boater makes, ” says John Fetterman, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) deputy executive director. “Boating under the influence is a 100 percent preventable crime. Operation Dry Water, participating law enforcement agencies and our boating safety partners encourage boaters to stay safe by staying sober while boating.”
Since the inception of the Operation Dry Water Campaign in 2009, law enforcement officers have removed 1,875 BUI operators from the nation’s waterways and made contact with over 604,250 boaters during the annual three-day weekend. In 2014, 585 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and USCG units from 56 state and territories participated in Operation Dry Water.
Environmental “stressors” such as wind, noise and the movement of the boat while on the water intensify the effects of alcohol or drug use on an individual while boating. Boaters can become impaired more quickly on the water than on land.
Operation Dry Water is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol and drug related accidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water.
For more information on Operation Dry Water, please visit operationdrywater.org. See a list of participating of agencies by state at www.operationdrywater.org/agencies