|Law enforcement boats are lined up and ready for Operation Dry Water.|
All weekend, thousands of officers with local, state and federal agencies will again team up for Operation Dry Water (ODW) in a coordinated effort to be on the water providing heightened enforcement and awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol (BUI). That means you may be approached by officers even if you don't appear to be partying, as they will be handing out educational material and informing you about the dangers of drinking and boating. Many on-the-water arrests will likely ensue.
BUI continues to be a major factor in accidents and deaths on our nation’s waterways. That's one of the reasons that Operation Dry Water is occurring just before the Fourth of July, a holiday where there is often quite a bit of drinking and boating, and deadly accidents.
Since the launch of Operation Dry Water in 2009, the percentage of boating fatalities with alcohol listed as a contributing factor has decreased slightly, but BUI still accounts for a disproportional number of on-the-water deaths. In 2011, alcohol was a contributing factor in nearly one in five boating fatalities.
In 2012, during 72 hours of heightened BUI enforcement, officers "removed" 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. From 2009 to 2012 over 1,200 BUI operators have been removed from the water and over 313,500 boaters have been contacted by a law enforcement officer during the Operation Dry Water weekends.
Who is behind the ODW effort? Operation Dry Water is a nationwide education and enforcement initiative launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.
For more information on this annual event, visit operationdrywater.org.