The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Watercraft will be participating in Operation Dry Water June 28-30, as part of a nationally coordinated effort to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities related to boating under the influence (BUI). The mission of Operation Dry Water is to bring awareness and educate recreational boaters about the dangers of alcohol and drug use on the water.
During Operation Dry Water, officers will be out in force looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds the state limit of .08 statewide. This weekend will include increased patrols, breathalyzer tests and checkpoints as well as boater education. Impaired boaters can expect to be arrested or face other serious penalties. In Ohio, the consequences for BUI include fines, jail and loss of privileges to register and to operate watercraft.
"We are dedicated to keeping boaters safe on our waters. Boating is a safe and enjoyable pastime when people stay alert and follow the rules,” says Rodger Norcross, chief for the ODNR Division of Watercraft. "Our officers will be on the water focusing their efforts on identifying boaters who are operating a vessel under the influence.”
Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol continues to be a major problem across the nation. U.S. Coast Guard data from Recreational Boating Statistics 2012 reveals that alcohol is the primary contributing factor in recreational boating fatalities. Intoxicated boat operators and passengers run a significantly increased risk of being involved in a fatal boating accident.
Operation Dry Water is a nationwide education and enforcement initiative launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in 2009 in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Operation Dry Water 2013 is a joint program of the ODNR Division of Watercraft, NASBLA, the U.S. Coast Guard and local marine patrol officers. For more information, visit operationdrywater.org.