Coast Guard units kickoff Operation Dry Water

D8 LogoST. LOUIS — Coast Guard units and partner agencies will be increasing their presence on Lake Carlyle, Ill., in support of Operation Dry Water, June 28-30.

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 2012 Coast Guard statistics, alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed as the leading factor in 17 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.

“We strongly encourage local Coast Guard units to support and participate with local law enforcement officials in their efforts to remove impaired boat operators from our waterways,” said Ed Huntsman , 8th Coast Guard District recreational boating safety coordinator.

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