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Marine Law Enforcement Gearing Up for Operation Dry Water, June 22-24
Law enforcement officers from local, state and federal boating agencies will be out in force June 22 to 24 for Operation Dry Water 2012, an annual campaign focused on the enforcement of drunk boating laws and raising awareness among recreational boaters that it is unsafe and illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (BUI).
Nearly 1 in 5 boating fatalities results from alcohol use, and states have gotten tougher in recent years in enforcing laws against this high-risk behavior. Operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is against federal and most state laws.
Held each year the weekend before the 4th of July holiday, Operation Dry Water is coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the state boating agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard and other partner organizations and is timed to give BUI enforcement high visibility before a holiday known for drinking and boating, as well as deadly accidents.
Boaters caught operating under the influence will find their voyages terminated and their vessels impounded. Additional penalties can include arrest, fines, loss of boating privileges, even loss of driving privileges. This year all 56 states, trusts and territories are expected to participate.
With stepped up law enforcement comes a battery of sobriety tests, validated just last year for use on the water, that allow 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 concentration or higher.
"We want recreational boaters to have fun, but we intend to exercise zero tolerance for BUI," says John Fetterman, law enforcement director for NASBLA and national spokesperson for Operation Dry Water.
For more information on this annual event, visit http://www.operationdrywater.org.
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Top: During Operation Dry Water marine law-enforcement crews from the Coast Guard and state boating agencies will be patrolling, conducting safety checks, and watching for people boating while intoxicated or operating in an unsafe manner. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mike De Nyse.)
Middle: Breathalyzer over the limit.
Bottom: Two Coast Guard 25-foot Response Boat-Small crews conduct safety patrols during last year's Operation Dry Water. The patrols were educating boaters on the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs as well as looking for boaters who were BUI. (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew S. Masaschi)
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. The organization offers a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards and publications. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, NASBLA affects the lives of over 83 million American boaters.
The United States Coast Guard is a military, multi-mission,
maritime service within the Department of Homeland Security and one of the
nation's five armed services. Its core roles are to protect the public,
the environment, and U.S. economic and security interests in any maritime
region in which those interests may be at risk, including international
waters and America's coasts, ports, and inland waterways.