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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

Operation Dry Water to increase awareness of the dangers associated with boating under the influence

In an effort to educate recreational boaters nationwide about the dangers of boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) will be participating in the annual Operation Dry Water campaign. The mission of Operation Dry Water is to decrease the number of alcohol- and drug-related incidents and fatalities on the water.

Operation Dry Water weekend, July 1-3, is the national weekend dedicated to amplified recreational boater outreach, education, and coordinated enforcement surrounding boating under the influence. Alcohol use continues to be the leading known contributing factor in recreational boater deaths and a leading contributor in boating incidents. The MWCD encourages all boaters to enjoy this boating season and help keep everyone safe by choosing to boat sober all year long. Use of both legal and illegal drugs also impairs judgment and reaction time and creates dangerous circumstances while on the water.

“Individuals and families from across the country head to our nation’s waterways for a fun, safe, and pleasant experience out on the water. Our goal is to not only educate boaters on the dangers of impaired boating, but also to remind them of other safe boating practices, such as enrolling in a boater education course and always wearing a life jacket,” says Patrick Brockmeier, MWCD Chief Ranger. “To ensure that everyone is safe out on the water, we have partnered with Operation Dry Water to assist in educating operators and passengers on the dangers associated with boating under the influence. The MWCD wants boaters to have a safe and enjoyable summer while out on the water, and to do that boat operators and passengers must remain sober and alert while underway.”

As part of Operation Dry Water weekend, recreational boating safety advocates and volunteers, in collaboration with law enforcement in every U.S. state and territory, will be out at marinas and on the water educating boaters about safe boating practices. Law enforcement will also be working to identify and remove dangerous and impaired operators. In 2022, law enforcement officers across the nation removed 794 impaired operators from our nation’s waterways during the Operation Dry Water weekend.

MWCD supports these educational and enforcement efforts prior to the 4th of July holiday to ensure the safety of recreational boaters and water sport enthusiasts. The risk of serious injury is the same for operators and passengers when drinking. Additionally, alcohol use by passengers presents a danger regardless of whether the operator is consuming alcohol or not.

Boaters can learn more about boating under the influence by visiting Operation Dry Water is coordinated nationally by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.

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