The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators has released the results of last year’s Operation Dry Water campaign, which took place July 5-7.
The program tracked and recorded law-enforcement participation throughout the Independence Day Weekend. In 2019, 7,696 officers from 736 local, state and federal law-enforcement agencies worked to educate boaters about the dangers of operating under the influence and removed impaired boaters from the water.
During the campaign’s awareness and enforcement weekend, NASBLA said 563 impaired boaters were removed from the water. The highest recorded blood alcohol concentration was more than three times the legal limit at 0.309 percent.
According to the summary report, 9,524 citations were written, and 25,452 warnings were issued. Officers nationwide also made more than 271,000 boater contacts.
In addition to law enforcement, the campaign presents awards to agencies that raise awareness about operating under the influence. The 2019 Operation Dry Water Agency Media Award went to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Law Enforcement Division. State game wardens conducted 33 interviews over the course of the three-day weekend, and the law enforcement division ran a social media campaign.
The 2019 Operation Dry Water Officer of the Year is Texas Game Warden Tyler Zaruba, who made two arrests for boating under the influence.
The top agency in the Small Category was the San Bernardino (California) County Sheriff’s Department, which deployed three officers and made six arrests for boating under the influence.
In the Medium Category, the honor went to Coast Guard Station Marblehead in Ohio, which had 18 officers on patrol during the weekend and made 10 BUI arrests.
The winner in the Large Category was the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, which had 166 officers on duty during the weekend and made 29 operating under the influence arrests.
Operation Dry Water’s heightened enforcement weekend takes place July 3-5 this year.