“Operation Dry Water” Launches

Over this July 4th holiday weekend, law enforcement officers and agencies across the country will be on the water educating boaters on safe boating practices as part of the annual Operation Dry Water weekend.

Operation Dry Water (ODW) is a national awareness and enforcement campaign focused on reducing the number of alcohol- and drug- related incidents and fatalities on the water. Officers will also be on heightened alert looking for those in violation of boating under the influence laws. The month of July sees the highest total number of recreational boating incidents nationally.

While it is a year-round campaign, an increase in awareness and enforcement efforts take place around July 4th, a holiday known for the potentially deadly combination of drinking and boating.

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater fatalities, and a leading factor in recreational boating incidents. Over the course of the Operation Dry Water weekend, law enforcement officers will intensify their patrols on waterways, increasing their presence and engaging with boaters to provide education about the risks associated with boating while impaired. By combining outreach, awareness, and enforcement efforts, Operation Dry Water aims to minimize alcohol- and drug-related incidents and create a safer boating environment for everyone.

In 2023, 488 local, state, and federal agencies participated in Operation Dry Water. Over the three-day heightened awareness and enforcement weekend law enforcement officers contacted 302,146 boaters, made 717 BUI arrests, and issued 42,822 citations and warnings for safety violations.

In Kansas game wardens will be looking for boaters whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of 0.08. The weekend will include increased patrols, breathalyzer tests, life jacket checks and boater education. Impaired boaters can expect to be arrested or face other serious penalties. In Kansas, the consequences for BUI include fines, jail and loss of boating privileges.