Monthly Archives: June 2011
Local, state and federal law enforcement marine units as well as sheriff’s offices will be partnering in the BUI enforcement and education campaign beginning Friday, June 24 and continuing through June 26 known as Operation Dry Water.
Operation Dry Water, June 24-26, 2011, is a national weekend of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) education and enforcement aimed at reducing alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities.
Held each year during the weekend before the 4th of July holiday, Operation Dry Water is coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the states, the U.S. Coast Guard and other partner organizations.
Since 2009, the enforcement operations has been held in June, just prior to the 4th of July holiday, aimed at reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities and fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water.
According to the most recent U.S. Coast Guard statistics, boating under the influence is still the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, with 16 percent of boating fatalities as a direct result of alcohol or drug use. A boat operator or passenger with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit (.08) runs a significantly increased risk of being involved in a boating accident.
Passengers need to be wary, too. Intoxication can lead to slips, falls overboard and other dangerous accidents. It’s also important to realize alcohol consumption can result in an inner ear disturbance which can make it impossible for a person suddenly immersed in water to distinguish up from down.
In 2010, all 50 States and 6 U.S. Territories participated in Operation Dry Water. Over that three-day weekend there were 40,127 vessels and 66,472 boaters contacted by law enforcement, 322 BUI arrests made, and 4,171 citations and 7,522 warnings issued for safety violations.
Citizens can help by letting law enforcement know if they observe careless boat operators and by their compliance with the rules of the water. If you see careless or reckless boat operators dial 911 on your cell phone or via radio on the VHF Channel 16 to report the event.
Boating Under the Influence (BUI) is dangerous and illegal. BUI is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Learn more about the effects of BUI.
If you boat under the influence:
- Your voyage will be terminated
- Your boat may be impounded, and
- You may be arrested.
Penalties can include fine, imprisonment, impoundment of your boat, loss of boating privileges and even loss of driving privileges.
Life Jackets – Check
Boat Registration – Check
Sound Signalling Device – Check
Fire Extinquisher – Check
Hitchhikers – What?
Boaters hitting area rivers and lakes this weekend might want to give themselves a few extra minutes for hull inspections. Many State’s Boating Authorities will be having boat inspection stations set up along routes to major boating destinations. The checkpoints are designed to detect any hitchhiking invasive species that may be attached to watercraft.
State Boating Authorities are focusing their attention to aquatic species that are posing immediate threats to the State’s recreational waters. Zebra Mussels and quagga mussels are just a couple of the targeted species. The mussels can ruin fisheries; clog boat motor cooling systems; foul watercraft hulls and equipment; and clog water-delivery systems used for power plants, irrigation, and domestic water use.
Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS)
Aquatic nuisance species (ANS) are non-indigenous species that threaten the diversity or abundance of native aquatic species. Two such ANS are the Zebra mussel and the Quagga mussel. Great Lakes water users spend tens of millions of dollars on zebra mussel control every year. Zebra mussel infestations cause pronounced ecological changes in the Great Lakes and major rivers of the central United States.
Non-indigenous aquatic nuisance plants, such as purple loosestrife, Eurasian water milfoil and hydrilla quickly establish themselves, replacing native plants.
Environmental and economic problems caused by the dense growth of these weeds include impairment of water-based recreation, navigation, flood control, water quality and fish and wildlife habitat.
Boaters should be conscientious when pulling their boats from recreational waters. You should inspect the boat and trailer, while still in the ramp area, and remove any suspected ANS and mud to eliminate the spread to other waters that may be visited.
Please consult with your state marine patrol and local marinas to identify non-indigenous species in your area. For more information on Impacts of Aquatic Non-indigenous Species, visit http://www.protectyourwaters.net/impacts.php
A couple of days ago we posted an article titled Top Ten Recreational Boating Tips. While the tips ALWAYS apply to promoting safe boating, parts of the statistics in the article were based on the latest available 2009 statistics from the USCG. It is my hope that the many of you who have been reading this blog for the past couple of years have heeded some of our advice in promoting boating safety by following safe boating practices. Could my hope have come true?
The U.S. Coast Guard announced last Wednesday, after I had published the above referenced article, its official 2010 recreational boating statistics and noted that total fatalities fell to a record low of 672.
The 2010 record is four fatalities less than the previous low in 2004, and is 26 deaths lower than the average number for the past 10 years. While the drop in fatalities is a positive sign, the Coast Guard cautions that the number still represents nearly two deaths per day and remains resolute in its commitment to preventing boating fatalities.
“We’re glad to see the numbers decline,” said Rear Adm. Kevin Cook, director of Prevention Policy for the U.S. Coast Guard. “I am optimistic that the number of deaths and injuries can continue to be reduced further because of the strong commitment to safe boating from our partners in the states, non-government advocacy groups, and the boating industry.”
Total reported accidents were 4,604 in 2010, down from 4,730 in 2009, while injuries totaled 3,153, down from 3,358. Property damage was estimated at $35 million.
The top five primary contributing factors in accidents continue to be:
- operator inattention,
- improper lookout,
- operator inexperience,
- excessive speed,
- and alcohol use.
Alcohol use was the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, and it was listed as the leading factor in 19% of the deaths.
Statistics indicate a clear link between safety and boating education in that boaters who have taken a boating safety course are less likely to be involved in an accident. In addition, almost three-quarters of all fatal boating accident victims drowned; and of those, roughly 90 percent were reported as NOT wearing a life jacket.
“Tragically, so many of these deaths are needless and could have been prevented had boaters taken some simple steps such as taking a boating safety course, not drinking and boating, and always wearing a life jacket,” said Cook.
To view all the 2010 recreational boating safety statistics, go to http://www.uscgboating.org/statistics/accident_statistics.aspx.
For more information on boating responsibly and to complete a boating safety course, go to http://www.boatsafe.com.
To review the Top Ten Boating Tips, go to: