Over the 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, July 2nd – 4th.
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. Law enforcement agencies from all 56 U.S. states and territories are expected to participate in Operation Dry Water. These agencies 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.
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.
Since the launch of the Operation Dry Water campaign in 2009, 5,320 impaired operators have been removed from our nation’s waterways, preventing dangerous and potentially tragic consequences. Officers have also made contact with over 2.2 million boaters during the annual three-day weekend as part of the outreach campaign. In 2021, 575 agencies from every state and territory participated in Operation Dry Water.
Alcohol consumption while boating is not only dangerous for the operator of the vessel, but also for passengers.** Impairment can lead to slips, falls overboard, injuries and deaths that could have been prevented had the individual not been impaired while boating.
For more information, visit www.operationdrywater.org.