Boat sober! Have a designated Skipper! Never boat under the influence! These are the strong messages of a nationally coordinated effort dubbed Operation Dry Water that Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Division will be participating in from June 27-29 on waterways across the state.
Operation Dry Water is a multi-agency, education and enforcement initiative which includes, in addition to GaDNR, thousands of other law enforcement agencies across the nation focusing on reducing the number of accidents and fatalities related to boating under the influence (BUI). The mission of Operation Dry Water is also to bring awareness and education to recreational boaters about the dangers of alcohol and drug use on the water.
"We want people to enjoy boating on our waterways but we want them to do it safely by staying alert, following the rules and boating sober,” says Law Enforcement Division Assistant Director Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver. "Our officers will be out on the water looking for boaters who are operating a vessel under the influence but we don’t want to cite people for BUI, we would rather them stay sober while boating or designate a non-drinking operator.”
Despite the fact that it is against the law nationwide for a person to operate a recreational vessel with an unlawful blood alcohol concentration (.08 or higher in Georgia), BUI continues to be a problem across the U.S.
Conservation rangers have made 69 arrests so far this year on state lakes and waterways in Georgia, and a total of 160 in 2013.
Operation Dry Water was launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in 2009 in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard and puts thousands of local, state and federal marine law enforcement officers on the water just before the Fourth of July to give BUI enforcement high visibility before a holiday known for drinking and boating. Georgia DNR Law Enforcement has participated in the program since its inception.
For more information, visit www.operationdrywater.org.
For more information about boating in Georgia, visit www.goboatgeorgia.com.