DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police today announced their active participation in Operation Dry Water, an annual nationwide awareness and enforcement campaign aimed at preventing alcohol and drug-related boating accidents and fatalities.
Over the July 5-7 weekend, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers will increase their presence on Delaware’s waterways to educate boaters on the danger and risk of operating a vessel under the influence. Enforcement efforts against operating under the influence (OUI) also will be intensified during the Operation Dry Water campaign. Boat operators found with blood alcohol levels at or exceeding the state and federal limit of 0.08 percent will be arrested and may have their vessel impounded, as well as face fines and potential jail time for OUI.
According to national statistics released by the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol use is a leading contributing factor to fatal boating accidents. To avoid putting themselves, their passengers, and other boaters at risk, boat operators are urged to stay sober and follow safe boating practices, or to plan ahead by having a non-drinking, qualified designated boat operator on board if alcohol is consumed.
During Operation Dry Water in 2018, Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers made 3,056 contacts with boat operators and passengers and conducted 573 boardings while performing standard vessel safety equipment checks and encouraging safe boating practices. Forty-six citations were issued, helping to raise awareness of and reduce unsafe boating practices, with one of the citations issued for OUI.
Operation Dry Water is coordinated nationwide by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), in partnership with state marine enforcement agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information on Operation Dry Water visit: http://www.operationdrywater.org/