Operation Dry Water campaign sees record number of BUI arrests

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With the mission of reducing the number of alcohol- and drug-related incidents and fatalities on the water, law enforcement agencies from across the country were on heightened patrol as part of Operation Dry Water weekend.

2021 Operation Dry Water Weekend Results

2021 Operation Dry Water Weekend Results

"Our goal is to keep our waterways safe for everyone to enjoy."

The summer of 2021 saw a stark increase in the number of recreational boaters on the water. Americans took advantage of the outdoors as a form of relief from restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, an increase was also seen in the number of people who were boating while impaired. With the mission of reducing the number of alcohol- and drug-related incidents and fatalities on the water, law enforcement agencies from across the country were on heightened patrol as part of Operation Dry Water weekend. Operation Dry Water is a year-round boating under the influence (BUI) awareness and enforcement campaign. In 2021, the boating safety initiative recorded a record number of impaired boaters with 638 arrests made during the three-day weekend, July 2 – 4, 2021.

“Every impaired boater creates a dangerous situation for themselves and for the other boaters on the water as well,” says Lt. Kenton Turner, Chair of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. “We are grateful for all of the first responders and our outreach partners for doing their part to remove these individuals from our nation’s waterways and raising awareness about the dangers of boating while impaired. Our goal is to keep our waterways safe for everyone to enjoy.”

Over the course of the three-day weekend, 575 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies participated in the Operation Dry Water campaign. From these agencies, 7,518 law enforcement officers conducted patrols resulting in a total of 638 boating under the influence arrests. The highest recorded blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was more than four times the legal limit at 0.351 percent. Officers also made contact with more than 328,000 boaters while patrolling our nation’s waterways, providing an opportunity for officers to educate boaters and help raise awareness about the significant dangers related to boating under the influence and other boating safety hazards.

In addition to the heightened law enforcement efforts, NASBLA works extensively with the states, boating safety organizations, other law enforcement agencies, and the U.S. Coast Guard to develop and execute the Operation Dry Water media and outreach campaign. In 2021, Operation Dry Water successfully obtained local and national media coverage through various channels. In 2021, Operation Dry Water generated nearly 544 million impressions with a publicity value of over $3.2 million.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), through grant funding administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, coordinates the Operation Dry Water campaign and the participation of law enforcement nationwide. The campaign’s heightened enforcement weekend is held annually near July 4, a holiday that consistently sees a rise in alcohol- and drug-related boating injuries and fatalities on the water. The 2022 Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend will take place nationwide, July 1 – 3, 2022.

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The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) coordinates the Operation Dry Water campaign, in partnership with law enforcement agencies and outreach partners nationwide, through a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Operation Dry Water (ODW) is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use on the water. http://www.operationdrywater.org.

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Taylor Matsko
@OpDryWater
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