Coast Guard participates in Operation Dry Water

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The Coast Guard will be participating in Operation Dry Water June 26 to the 28, which is a national enforcement effort coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators designed to highlight the dangers of operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The Coast Guard will be searching for boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the national limit of .08 percent. Boating under the influence is illegal in all 50 states and territories. Impaired boaters found to be boating under the influence can expect penalties to be severe. Penalties may include fines, jail, and loss of boating or even driving privileges.

In 2007, the Coast Guard reported 21 percent of all boating fatalities were a result of alcohol use.

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion stressors common to the boating environment intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs, and some prescription medications.

According to the National Recreational Boating Statistics, published annually by the Coast Guard, deaths, injuries and accidents on the water that result from alcohol involvement have been trending downward from a high of 704 alcohol-related boating accidents in 1998 to 421 accidents in 2007. Even with the downward trend, alcohol use is still the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.

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