Coast Guard and local law enforcement officers will participate in Operation Dry Water Friday through Sunday in a joint effort to reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to boating under the influence. During the operation, Coast Guard members and local law enforcement throughout the Pacific Northwest will focus on detecting impaired boaters and educating the public about the dangers of boating under the influence.
Piloting a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is against federal and state law. Boaters caught operating under the influence will have their voyage terminated and their vessel impounded. Additionally, penalties can include arrest, fines and loss of boating or driving privileges. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators launched Operation Dry Water in 2009 in partnership with the Coast Guard.
Operation Dry Water takes place around the Fourth of July holiday weekend; a time known for increased boaters on the water where alcohol use is prevalent, as are subsequent accidents and fatalities. Boating under the influence has become the leading contributing factor in fatal recreational boating accidents. Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision, and reaction time as well as increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.
In 2019, 736 local, state and federal agencies participated in the operation. Over the three-day weekend, law enforcement contacted 271,286 boaters, made 563 BUI arrests, and issued 34,976 citations and warnings for safety violations. For more information on Operation Dry Water, please visit operationdrywater.org