Operation Dry Water (ODW) is a year-round, national boating under the influence (BUI) heightened awareness and enforcement campaign focused on reducing the number of alcohol- and drug- related incidents and fatalities on the water. The 2023 Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend will be starting Saturday, July 1st, and will run through Monday, July 3rd, nationwide.
LEXINGTON, Ky., June 30, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- On Thursday, June 29th, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), U.S. Coast Guard, Pennsylvania State Police, and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, kicked off the 2023 Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend with a press conference at Point State Park.
Operation Dry Water (ODW) is a year-round, national boating under the influence heightened awareness and enforcement campaign focused on reducing the number of alcohol- and drug- related incidents and fatalities on the water. Annually, Operation Dry Water facilitates a three-day heightened awareness and enforcement weekend, targeting operators who choose to boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The 2023 Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend will be starting this Saturday, July 1st, and will run through Monday, July 3rd, nationwide.
"Law enforcement agencies from all 56 U.S. states and territories, including the U.S. Coast Guard, will be participating in Operation Dry Water," said Taylor Matsko, NASBLA Communications and Marketing Director. "These agencies and their officers will focus their efforts on detecting impaired boaters, removing them from our nation's waterways, and educating the public about the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs."
Boating under the influence is a 100% preventable crime, and unfortunately, many impaired operators become impaired drivers at the boat ramp. Operation Dry Water appreciates its partners on the road who work diligently to address this preventable crime.
"The Fourth of July holiday is upon us, and the Pennsylvania State Police want to remind drivers that troopers have a zero-tolerance policy for impaired driving," said Trooper Melinda Bondarenka, Pennsylvania State Police. "The Pennsylvania State Police will be conducting driving under the influence (DUI) checkpoints in the area with state and local law enforcement partners."
Alcohol use continues to be the leading contributing factor in recreational boater fatalities, and a leading factor in recreational boating incidents.* Nationally there has also been a rise in incidents related to drug impairment.
"Safety is the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's most important priority," said Cheryl Moon-Sirianni, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Executive Deputy Secretary. "Driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or any combination of these can put you and others at great risk."
Along with promoting increased awareness of the dangers surrounding impaired boating, NASBLA believes that the best way to reduce boating under the influence is to strengthen law enforcement capabilities on the water. Throughout the country, many law enforcement officers participate in boating under the influence training to stay up to date on the latest developments in detection and enforcement.
"One tool that marine patrol officers have been using since 2010 to assist in boating under the influence investigations is the seated battery of field sobriety tests," said Walter Hodgkiss, NASBLA Lead Instructor for its Boating Under the Influence Program. "Officers can use these tests in the marine environment to make an accurate arrest/release decision without relying on equilibrium. No longer is it necessary to detain suspected impaired boat operators and take them ashore to conduct standing field sobriety tests."
While many people recognize that impairment is dangerous for the operator of any vessel, boating under the influence is also extremely perilous for passengers as well.**
"There are going to be a lot of extra boaters out on the water, some of which could be inexperienced," said U.S. Coast Guard Chief Christian DiPaolo. "We want to encourage everybody to be safe and enjoy the weekend. The U.S. Coast Guard will be out across the nation looking for impaired operators and working to keep everyone safe."
Keeping drugs and alcohol off the water completely is critical to a safe boating environment, along with wearing a life jacket, using an engine cut-off switch, and taking a boating education course prior to getting on the water.
Operation Dry Water (ODW) is produced under a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard and is a product of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).
Taylor Matsko, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, 8592257376, [email protected]
SOURCE National Association of State Boating Law Administrators