Coast Guard units kickoff Operation Dry Water

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NEW ORLEANS — Coast Guard units, parish marine units and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will be increasing their presence on Louisiana waterways in support of Operation Dry Water, June 27-29.

Operation Dry Water is an annual nationwide campaign during which federal, state and local maritime agencies take to the water to educate boaters and raise awareness that it is unsafe, as well as illegal, to operate a boat under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

According to 2013 Coast Guard statistics, alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed as the leading factor in 16 percent of deaths. States have gotten tougher in recent years in enforcing laws against this high-risk behavior. Operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is against federal and most state laws. Boaters caught operating under the influence will have their voyage terminated and their vessel impounded. Additionally, penalties can include arrest, fines, loss of boating privileges, even loss of driving privileges.

Operation Dry Water, launched by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in 2009, in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, puts thousands of local, state and federal marine law-enforcement officers on the water the weekend before Independence Day to give BUI enforcement high visibility before a holiday known for drinking and boating – and deadly accidents.

“The Coast Guard looks forward to working with state and local law enforcement in an effort to keep the District’s waterways clear of impaired drivers and providing the public with education on safe boating,” said Ed Huntsman , 8th Coast Guard District recreational boating safety coordinator.

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