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.