Operation Dry Water Warns Boaters not to Boat While Impaired

2019 Operation Dry Water

We see too many tragedies and deaths every year that were 100% preventable and caused by those who chose to boat while impaired.

Over the July 4th holiday weekend, law enforcement agencies and officers across the United States will be conducting Operation Dry Water and will be on heightened alert for those in violation of boating under the influence laws. Operation Dry Water is a national campaign focused on boating under the influence awareness, prevention and enforcement.

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths, and a leading factor in recreational boating accidents.* Law enforcement agencies from all 56 U.S. states and territories are expected to participate in Operation Dry Water. These agencies will focus their efforts on detecting impaired boaters, removing them from our nation’s waterways and educating the public about the dangers of boating under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

“We see too many tragedies and deaths every year that were 100% preventable and caused by those who chose to boat while impaired,” says Hannah Helsby, Deputy Executive Director for the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). “Those involved in Operation Dry Water, including participating law enforcement agencies and our boating safety partners, urge every boater keep themselves and others on the water safe by choosing to stay sober while boating.”

Since the commencement of the Operation Dry Water campaign in 2009, law enforcement officers across the nation have removed over 3,500 impaired operators from waterways during the annual three-day weekend. In 2018, 574 agencies from every state and territory took part in the Operation Dry Water weekend.

Environmental “stressors” such as wind, noise, and the movement of the boat while on the water intensify the effects of alcohol or drug use on an individual while boating. Boaters can become impaired much more quickly on the water than on land, with less amounts of alcohol. Impairment can lead to collisions, falls overboard, injuries and deaths that could have been prevented if boaters had made the decision not to drink alcohol or be otherwise impaired while boating.

Operation Dry Water is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol and drug-related incidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water. For more information about Operation Dry Water visit http://www.operationdrywater.org.


Operation Dry Water is produced under a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard and is a product of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

*2017 U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics.

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