Operation Dry Water, which seeks to raise awareness of the danger of boating under the influence of alcohol, began this past weekend and continues through the holiday across the country.
Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor to boating-related injuries and deaths in the United States.
Thousands of law enforcement officers, along with their boating safety partners, will be on the water during Operation Dry Water, educating boaters about the dangers of boating under the influence of drugs and alcohol and removing from the water those who are impaired.
Last year, more than 6,200 law enforcement officers participated in Operation Dry Water. Officers removed 290 BUI operators from the water and made contact with more than 144,000 boaters during the weekend.
“The mission of Operation Dry Water and the law enforcement officers who participate is to reduce the number of alcohol- and drug-related deaths on the water,” John Fetterman, deputy executive director of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, said in a statement.
“Boating should be a fun and enjoyable time spent with friends and family; we are asking that boaters make sure their voyage remains enjoyable by boating sober. Too many accidents and deaths are caused by those who choose to boat under the influence.”
In 2009, NASBLA, in partnership with the Coast Guard, launched Operation Dry Water. According to 2013 Coast Guard recreational boating statistics, from 2009 to 2013 there has been a 37 percent decrease in the number of recreational boater deaths where alcohol use was listed as the known primary contributing factor.
From 2012 to 2013, there was a 31 percent decrease in the number of alcohol-related recreational boater deaths — the most significant decrease in the past five years.