Looking forward to relaxing on the boat with an ice chest full of cold beer? Better think again.
Thousands of local, state and federal marine law enforcement officers will take to the water 22-24 June to raise awareness of boating while intoxicated before the Fourth of July weekend.
Boaters should expect increased patrols, BUI checkpoints and breathalyzer tests, as well as educational displays and handouts.
Now in its fourth year, Operation Dry Water is a multi-agency, education and enforcement initiative launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Each year nearly one in five recreational boating fatalities result from alcohol use. Operating a vessel with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher is against federal and most state laws.
Boaters caught operating under the influence will find their voyage terminated and their vessel impounded. Penalties can include arrest, fines, loss of boating privileges and even loss of driving privileges.
Last year a new battery of testing standards allowed marine patrol officers to test boaters in a seated position and apply a percentage of probability that the subject is impaired at .08 blood alcohol content or higher.
With these new field sobriety tests, law enforcement officials hope to stop more intoxicated boaters and impress upon everyone that operating a recreational vessel while impaired is too great a risk—to themselves, to their boats and to others.