Coast Guard participating in Operation Dry Water to decrease threat of boating under the influence

Coast Guard launches awareness campaign to reach out to boaters

CLEVELAND – Members of the Coast Guard 9th District will participating in Operation Dry Water this weekend as part of a nationally coordinated effort to raise awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence and reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to alcohol use on the Great Lakes.

Operation Dry Water weekend, June 27-29, is the national weekend of heightened enforcement of boating under the influence laws and recreational boater outreach.

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths in the United States, according to the 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics compiled by the Coast Guard. In 2012 and 2013, alcohol use contributed to 95 accidents, 67 injuries and 36 deaths on the Great Lakes.

Coast Guard maritime law enforcement boarding officers have issued 39 citations for boating under the influence in 2014 so far.

“Coast Guard men and women patrol throughout the boating season to ensure the safety of the boating public. We do our best to remove intoxicated boaters before they hurt themselves or others,” said Rear Adm. Fred Midgette, commander of the Coast Guard 9th District.

“From June 27-29 we will be partnering with law enforcement agencies across the Great Lakes to ensure boating is an activity that everyone can safely enjoy. We encourage boaters who witness anyone operating a boat recklessly to report it to local law enforcement – together we can make the lakes safer.”

Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher is against federal law and most state laws. Persons found to be boating under the influence can expect to incur severe penalties. If a boat operator is BUI, the voyage may be terminated, the boat may be impounded and the operator may be arrested. Penalties vary by state but can include fines, jail, loss of boating privileges, even loss of driving privileges.

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