From Friday to Sunday, U.S. Coast Guard members are teaming up with local law enforcement for Operation Dry Water, a nationwide initiative aimed at reducing the number of accidents and deaths from boating under the influence of alcohol.
Across the tri-state area, the personnel will be on the lookout for impaired boaters as well as spending time to educate the public on the dangers of intoxicated boating.
Having a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is against federal and most state laws, according to a news release from the Coast Guard. Those caught violating that law will have their vessel impounded, the Coast Guard said, and are subject to arrest, fines and loss of boating or driving privileges.
Boating while intoxicated is a leading contributing factor in fatal recreational boating accidents, according to the news release, with alcohol impairing a boat operator’s vision, balance, judgment and reaction time while increasing fatigue.
Operation Dry Water was launched in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the Coast Guard. It is held just before July Fourth weekend, which has become a holiday known for increased boaters on the water who are under the influence of alcohol, leading to increased accidents and fatalities, officials said.
More than 580 local, state and federal agencies participated in Operation Dry Water in 2015, where 125,087 boaters were contacted, 278 BUI arrests were made, and 17,942 citations and warnings for safety violations were handed out, according to the news release.
For more information on the program, visit www.operationdrywater.org.