For the second year in a row, Operation Dry Water hits America’s waterways this weekend, June 25-27.
Operation Dry Water is a national weekend of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) detection and enforcement aimed at reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities.
In case you didn’t already know it, BUI is dangerous and illegal. According to 2008 U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics, alcohol is the leading contributing factor in boating fatalities; nearly one in five boating fatalities each year result from boaters impaired by alcohol.
Operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher is against most State and Federal laws. BUI also applies to drugs. Even prescription medications can make operating a recreational vessel unsafe. Check with your doctor about the effects of any medications you may be taking.
If marine law enforcement finds that a boat operator is BUI, the vessel’s voyage will be terminated, the boat may be impounded and the operator may be arrested. Penalties vary by state, but can include fines, jail, loss of boating privileges, even loss of driving privileges. During 2009’s operation, more than 220 boaters were arrested.
Operation Dry Water is coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, states and other agencies. It is a nationwide event with more than 80 agencies participating this year.
Consider yourself warned.