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Guest Author – June 2022

‘Operation Dry Water’ Takes Place Nationwide Deterring Impaired Boating

Taylor Matsko

Communications & Marketing Director

National Association of State Boating Law Administrators

Not only is impaired operation a concern on our nation’s roadways, but it also is a major issue on America’s waterways. Impaired boating continues to be a leading known contributing factor in fatal recreational boating incidents.1 The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), U.S. Coast Guard, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as recreational boating safety advocates are gearing up to spread awareness and prevent tragedies related to boating under the influence (BUI) this summer.

Law enforcement officers across the country will be on heightened alert for those in violation of boating under the influence laws as part of the annual Operation Dry Water (ODW) weekend, July 2 – 4, 2022. Operation Dry Water is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related incidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water.

Millions of boaters will head to the water to celebrate the July 4th holiday over the extended weekend. Unfortunately, alcohol use by both operators and passengers often becomes part of these activities, causing an increase in the number of injuries, incidents and fatalities on the water.2 Law enforcement agencies from all 56 U.S. states and territories are expected to participate in Operation Dry Water. These agencies will focus their efforts on detecting impaired boaters, removing them from our nation’s waterways and educating the public about the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Environmental “stressors” such as wind, noise, and the movement of the boat while on the water intensify the effects of alcohol or drug use on an individual while boating. Boaters can become impaired much more quickly on the water than on land, with less amounts of alcohol. Impairment can lead to collisions, falls overboard, injuries and deaths that could have been prevented if boaters had made the decision not to drink alcohol or be otherwise impaired while boating.

Since the commencement of the Operation Dry Water campaign in 2009, law enforcement officers across the nation have removed over 5,300 impaired operators from waterways during the annual three-day weekend. For more information about Operation Dry Water visit http://www.operationdrywater.org.

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