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 28 and continuing through June 30 known as Operation Dry Water.
Operation Dry Water 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 2012, 51 states and U.S. territories participated in Operation Dry Water. More than 4,500 officers from 505 local, state, and federal agencies participated in 72 hours of heightened BUI enforcement. Officers were able to remove 337 BUI operators from the water while issuing an additional 14,514 boating safety citations and warnings. In addition, law enforcement officers made contact with over 113,000 boaters concerning BUI or boating safety enforcement and awareness.
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. The short video below shows what can happen when you encounter law enforcement while boating under the influence.